"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Harder, why?

In reference to yesterday's blog, I have had someone ask why it is/was so much harder to have a toddler enter our home than a newborn. Here are my thoughts:
  • A newborn has no choice but to totally depend on and trust in his parents. He is totally helpless. There is nothing he can do on his own. In our case, I nursed all our newborns which immediately caused Momma to have a special role that no one else could fill. Joshua is capable of doing many things for himself. He has also experienced the loss his Ethiopian Momma and all familiar caregivers there after. Trust and dependence has to be nurtured very carefully.
  • Newborns do not need discipline. They do not need to learn the rules right away. Joshua entered our home and had to learn the rules immediately. Trying to make him feel safe, accepted, and loved while learning the rules is challenging.
  • Newborns do not get into their siblings things, pick on them, or talk back. Joshua has been really amazing about respecting each family member's "stuff." He does like to tattle sometimes. He likes to tell his siblings, "No! No!" They help too much sometimes. They try to tell him what to do. All normal stuff, but with a newborn you have a bit of a grace period.
  • He has experienced loss and is dealing with grief and fear that our newborns never did. It is really, really hard to watch him react with deep, deep sadness and fear.
  • Introductions to new people are more difficult. With a newborn if everyone at church or the bank or the office wanted to come over and peak, the babies slept through it. Joshua gets overwhelmed - especially when spoken to and expected to respond. Imagine trying to decide who is safe and understand a new language at the same time. I want to protect him from the stress, but also understand that people just want to welcome him. The balance is hard, be polite or nurture my son?
  • He did not understand what a "momma" was. Family structure made no sense at first. We have chosen to put very specific boundaries in place to help him learn what a momma and daddy are. Until he is more securely attached to us, relationships with all other family and friends have to be distant. This is not natural or comfortable.
  • I am not able to have a true maternity leave. Not Joshua's fault or any difference between newborn and toddler "births", but different experiences just the same. I did not work after the first 3 were born, for at leats 6 weeks. I did have to work some when Brenna was born, but our business and my job have grown a lot since then. Trying to work has been a bummer - however I am totally spoiled in that Joshua can come with me to the office and ANY meetings. We own the company and if people want to do business with us they have to put up with our terms. I am able to do most of my work from home. So it could be much worse!

OK, that probably makes you really leery to ever consider adoption, especially of an older child. Well let me also tell you the rewards are great. It is amazing to see his pride in learning. The speed with which he is learning is absolutely astonishing! It is so exciting to hear him say "I lub you! Momma!" It is wonderful to be hugged with all his strength. It is nice to skip diapers. He is funny, cute, sweet, and interactive. Do NOT shy away, just be prepared! Also know that no matter how prepared you are - it looks different in person. Having Joshua home has been better than I ever could have expected, but also much harder.

The other question I have been asked is how are the older kids doing?
  • Krissy has been very patient and understanding. She has had to have a lot of boundaries as Joshua would have like to bond with her in a momma-like way. That had to be very difficult, but other than a few eye rolls, she has been so understanding. She is extremely nurturing and loving with little ones so it has been hard to treat him like a brother sometimes. (Like he would at first want her to rock and snuggle him for hours. Sounds harmless and sweet, but if his love tank was filled by big sis. momma was only a rule enforcer. He would be very unhappy to have me around.) As she tells me when I ask if something is "normal sister behavior"... but he's so cute! I could not be more proud of her and her understanding of Joshua's needs during this time.
  • Jamison is so chill. He is unfailingly patient, but also has a man's ability to just tune his little bro out. He jumps up from his chair to kiss Joshua goodnight. He plays with him and notices when he learns something new. He has been rock solid.
  • Sierra has probably struggled the most. She has been shocked at how annoying a 2 year old can be. She has a hard time with how much Joshua talks... and interrupts. She has missed going to the pool (doesn't work too well with nap). She also likes to argue with Joshua. He will say "yes" and she will respond "no" and they will keep at each other getting louder each round. She is trying to learn to ignore him when he starts these arguments, but is is so tempting because he is clearly wrong. However, she says many times, "Mom, how do you think we got so lucky? He is just perfect for our family. I am so glad he's here." So it is all pretty normal!
  • Brenna has been amazing. She is so so so patient! She is helpful, but also lets Joshua explore and try things on his own. She plays with him but does not hover. She could not have handled being bumped as the baby any better.
So all in all the kids have transitioned from 4 to 5 amazingly well. Much of that is due to their daddy pouring out attention when I have been busy getting Joshua to bed. Chad has really invested in the older kids this summer. He has made a point to interact with them in the hours it takes to get Joshua to bed and that has made a huge difference.

Friday, July 30, 2010

2 Months

This is without a doubt Joshua's biggest accomplishment this month.

Over the course of this month Joshua has really began to let his emotional guard down. He has (almost) always wanted to be with me and held by me, but he refused a blanket - that was just too cozy. He would never suck his thumb until he was fast asleep. He would be upright and erect on my hip when meeting new people.

This month he has begun to trust me more. To relax his guard. To melt a little. He will allow himself to enjoy cuddling. He comes to me ALL the time with a request to mah tah mah tah with Momma. That means he wants to take a break from playing, cuddle up under my chin, suck his thumb a minute and just enjoy being adored.

He also chooses to cuddle in, close his eyes, and suck his thumb when feeling overwhelmed by strangers. Today we went in to the bank for the first time. We bank at a small bank and since they helped notarize so many forms along our adoption journey, the ladies at the bank were very excited to meet Joshua. When they all came out to peak, he cuddled in, closed his eyes, and sucked his thumb. One wise Grandma noticed right away and said, "OK ladies, we are stressing him out!"

It makes me so happy for him that he is learning to trust me to protect him. To totally let go in new and scary situations and know I will not leave him. To know that he can snuggle in and I will handle it. He can just be a baby and let me handle the grown up stuff. (He loves to say, "Joshua Momma's baby." as he snuggles in tight.)

I have thought many times these past 2 months about how hard we all work to be in control. To take care of ourselves. To have it all together. To show no fear. But when we are weak, He is strong. When we rest in His arms, we are safe. Watching Joshua learn to trust me has reminded me to trust in Him.

"My grace (God's) is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

So I confess to you, these 2 months have been hard. 100 times harder than bringing home any of my newborns. I have had 1 to 2 children upset with me constantly. My house is not neat and tidy and I hate that. Someone is always talking, always needing something, there is not enough of me to go around. I have been trying to work from home and to be honest, I am not doing a very good job. I hate that. My husband has been patiently waiting to tell me what he did when we were in Ethiopia... for 2 months. OK exaggeration, but we do not get enough time to talk. Relationships with family and friends have been put on the back burner because I only have enough emotional energy to share with the kids and Chad. Keeping up this silly blog is the only way I communicate. By the end of the day I feel lucky if I have enough energy to sip on a glass of wine and stare at the TV for 30 minutes before falling asleep. I am doing my best and trying to let go of the rest. I am stressed, I am tired - but I have absolutely NO DOUBT that Joshua Gebeyehu Chad D. was chosen for this family. I am honored to be chosen to be his Momma. I am so thankful to have my Joshua home. And His grace is sufficient.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Project 2... blankets

Sierra has her heart set on making tie blankets for 2 years. We finally got them done!

What is a little blanket making with out a blanket fort?

Brenna assures me she is not tired, yeah right!

Each of the kids chose fabrics. Krissy chose turquoise and orange. Sierra picked lime and purple. Jay wanted basketball and football prints. Brenna chose hot pink and a fun print. We selected a Cars print for Joshua. He did not want a blanket! But Krissy wisely pointed out that once they were all made he would reconsider. We having been working on the blankets for a couple days and by tonight he was pumped to have the girls working on HIS. Each blanket is as unique and beautiful as the child who chose it.

The girls finished Joshua's while I rocked him to sleep.

**My favorite Joshua story of the day... because if you don't write this stuff down you forget it!
Joshua and I were at the park this morning. He was trying to climb up a ladder to a slide. It is hard for him and I was cheering him along. He finally says, "Momma HELP! Joshua HEAVY!"

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Funny Things He Says...

Joshua has amazing language skills, but once in a while he just totally cracks us up.

  • One of his new favorite things to do is race. He calls out, "READY!" and hunches over to start in great form. Then he yells, "SIT!" and moves into a squat position. (Apparently SET sounds like SIT to him. His pre-race squat is sooo funny!) Then he yells, "GO!" and takes off as fast as his legs will carry him. (He can nearly run on flat solid ground these days. He has gotten so much stronger. He chants, "faster, faster" when he is "running" and pumps his arms wildly.)
  • Today Krissy was babysitting my nieces. Joshua always knows where each of us are at all times. When we are not together he repeats to me frequently where each of the missing family members are. It makes him feel much more secure when he knows and understands where we all are. So this morning I kept telling him Krissy was babysitting. He would respond, "Yep." After lunch he proudly announced to me, "Krissy baby coach a bell." I was totally confused at first. Coach a bell is Amharic for to sit. I asked him, "Krissy sat on the baby?" He replied, "Yep. Krissy baby coach a bell!" Then it hit me. I kept telling him Krissy was babysitting. I did not even try to explain babysitting, I just giggled and told him he was right. And really... he was!
  • We borrowed my Expedition to the Youth Group this weekend so Joshua got to ride in Daddy's truck. He LOVED that! Yesterday I drove Daddy's truck. Joshua was so totally excited and very impressed with my skills. He kept saying, "Momma Daddy's truckie driving!" I would respond that yes, Momma drove Daddy's truck. He would laugh out loud and say, "Good Job me Momma!" over and over.
  • Last one... Krissy and Jay got home from a weekend with the Youth Group last night and I really wanted to hear their stories. They were starving and sick of the "great" outdoors. Well, Joshua really wanted to play outside. So I decided to let Sierra watch him outside for a few minutes. Sierra was happy to do it! She had been hanging out with a neighborhood friend and thought showing off her little bro would be the bomb. I was shocked when Sierra came in with Joshua just a few minutes later. From the look on BOTH of their faces, I knew something was up. Sierra told me in a huff that Joshua had chosen to shinty (go potty) outside right in front of her friend. She was NOT impressed. Poor Joshua was a little shaken up. He kept asking me, "Joshua no naughty. No shinty shoes." (Joshua is not naughty. He did not go potty on his shoes. He has had very few accidents, but when he does it is upsetting because I have to wash his beloved shoes!) I kept reassuring him that he is not naughty, he should just remember to shinty in the toilet next time. He can not stand the idea of himself or any of the kids being naughty. It truly shakes him up to be in trouble of any kind, he is just not secure enough in our love to realize that we will love him even if/when he makes a mistake. That is something we work on ALL the time. His behavior needs to be corrected sometimes but our love for him has to be reinforced at a HIGH level along with the correction. Today he hit the dog with a toy. I told him he needed to be gentle with Riley. He replied, "Joshua no naughty boy" very insecurely. I reminded him that JOSHUA is a GOOD boy who needs to be gentle with Riley. He relaxed immediately and was very gentle with Riley from there on out. (Only the dog can be naughty! Joshua likes it when we catch the dog being naughty?! He loves to point out the dog's mistakes and yell, "Momma Riley NAUGHTY!" The truth is he only knows the word naughty because of the dog. We have told him Riley is naughty to go off his rug (etc) and he hears our disapproval. I have never said that Joshua is naughty and I never will! I have always been very careful to help my kids see that their behaviors may be inappropriate but THEY are good, loving, smart and capable of correcting the behavior.) Every time he went potty today he proudly announced, "Momma, Joshua GOOD BOY! Shinty toilet!" Yes sweet Joshua, YOU are a VERY GOOD BOY!

More good news came in the mail today... Joshua's green card. We will start working on readoption paperwork now. Readoption in the US will get him a social security number and a US Birth Certificate. There is no concern that anything about his adoption will be challenged. It is 100% final, but completing this paperwork will make filing taxes, travel, etc... simpler. I will be glad when all this paperwork is a thing of the past!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tie-Dye Fun

Sierra reminded me last week that it was about time for us to do some fun summer projects.

I think their project turned out pretty great!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Misc. Moments from our Week

I love this picture... if you look close you can see that Joshua is holding on tight to his picture of his buddies from Ethiopia who are now his neighbors! So cool to have them HOME!

We bought Krissy a cute little car to drive - with LOTS of supervision of course! It has a good side...
And it has a bad side! Chad found a great deal on a damaged VW beetle. It will be super in 3 mo. or so when Chad has repaired it. Lucky Krissy but poor Daddy!

Momma had a "car" to put together too. Grammy surprised Joshua with a really cool FIRETRUCK in the mail! It was way too exciting of a toy to wait for Daddy so come home... so Momma figured it out! (Did you know Little Tikes has online video instructions? They rock!)
Joshua watched me the whole time and kept asking, "Joshua sit? Joshua drive?"

Finally Momma got it all done!

Ever cautious Joshua lowering himself in... never know if it will work - after all Momma is no pro when it comes to car repairs.

Works great! Good job me Momma! Thank you Grammy!

We had lots of play dates this week.
Joshua is learning to pray. When he first came home he would tell us "em bee yo" (NO!) when we would pray before meals. A week or so in he would just silently shrug us off. But now he is the first to say "Momma PRAY!" Sometimes we have to pray several times during a meal. He always remembers to thank God for all his current favorites, "thank you Krissy, thank you Riley, thank you Daddy, etc!" Super sweet moments with a super sweet little boy.
I almost forgot another memorable moment this week. I left Joshua home with Daddy and went out to supper with a girlfriend! Joshua was not pleased with the idea at first. When I told him that Momma was going to go bye-bye, he yelled "NO!" and jumped into my arms and clung tight. I reassured him that he would be with Daddy and Momma would come back! Then we suggested that he wave bye-bye to Momma from inside Daddy's boat. Yep, subtle bribe as he LOVES to play in the boat but is rarely allowed to when it is in the garage. He went for that and happily waved to me as I drove away. I am told about half way through supper he melted down. We are learning what cries are heartbreak/fear/trauma based and which are true tantrums. This cry was a very sad one, but Daddy calmly comforted him.When Joshua continued to cry, Chad brought him outside and he settled down after a while. When I arrived home Joshua proudly told me how Daddy buried his feet in the sand, then I got LOTS of hugs and was closely followed the rest of the night. Joshua went to bed nicely which tells me that although he was challenged emotionally, he was also OK. Way to go Joshua! And THANK YOU Chad - you are an awesome, kind, wise, patient, brave Daddy! I appreciate you!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Plastic Surgery

The most emotionally painful loss I have faced is the death of my Grandmother. She was and is "who I want to be when I grow up." That is the best way I can describe my admiration and love for her. She was strong, physically and emotionally. She believed in God and loved to serve Him. She was always busy, yet always had time for anyone in need.

As a child I "knew" I was her very favorite grandchild. This of course was not true, but she had this special way of loving that made me feel totally special and adored. If I felt that treasured, I had to be her favorite, right?

My brother and I spent some time with my grandparents each summer - without our parents. That created many good memories. They would take us for an overnight in their camper at a local lake. Those camping memories are certainly what sparked my desire to camp with my family. (In fact the after her death, my dad shared a portion of his inheritance with our family. We used that money to buy our first camper.)

As an adult, I was lucky enough to live within a few hours of her. Since I was a stay-at-home mom, I was able to visit often. The times I had with her and my children were precious. She adored children, especially babies. She and my grandpa were both battling cancer when Brenna was born so it was extra important to me to bring Brenna to visit as soon as possible after her birth. I will never forget my dear Grandma sitting on the floor at the age of 81, in the midst of battling cancer, eagerly struggling with the buckles on infant Brenna's car seat. I had brought the baby into the house first and then went back to the vehicle to unload the other three. Waiting for me to unstrap the baby would have taken too long, so my determined Grandma got down on the floor to get to her newest great-granddaughter.

As her battle with cancer came to an end, I was able to spend quite a bit of time with her. I was able to take care of her a little, to savor last moments, to say good-bye. I was able to prepare for her death and I knew without a doubt that she would be so happy in heaven.

However, her passing was still so very painful. I did not really "need" her. I had the emotional support of many other family members. I was able to care for myself financially. I had known in advance that her death was near. Even so I grieved. I woke in the night missing her for months and months. I drank from her coffee cup each morning. I changed the route I took when visiting my other grandparents (who live in the same area) so I did not have to see her home. It took a long time before memories were not bittersweet.

I think about that experience a lot as I watch my son grieve. He has lost so much more than I. He has lost a family, a language, a culture, a country. He had no choice. He had no understanding of what was to come. He was and is totally dependent.

Visiting Ethiopia was an exciting experience. I enjoyed it, mostly because I knew it was going to be a short experience. Trying new foods and new words was fun, because I knew I would be able to go home. I also had the comfort of traveling with my mom and daughter. I had researched a lot so I had some knowledge of the country, culture, and what would be expected of me.

However, if I had been transplanted to the country with no choice, no knowledge, and no real warning - it would not have been fun or exciting. It would have been terrifying.

Our sweet Joshua Gebeyehu has been in America for about 45 days. That is it. He has nearly mastered English "toddler style." He has learned about carseats, Payloaders, life jackets, parks, dogs, siblings, and parents. He has tasted many new foods, seen many new things, and conquered a few fears. He has accomplished more in these 45 days than I ever could.

But in 45 days, he is NOT "cured." He still experiences fairly significant insecurities in new situations. He is still trying to figure out if mom and dad will really always come back. He is still trying to figure out the difference between Momma and Krissy. He still struggles with falling asleep.

Today we went to visit his friends from the care center in Ethiopia. He has been so excited to see Ageze and Tesfa again. He was so pumped to go to their house. He waved excitedly when he saw them through the window when we drove up. However once inside, he reacted just like he did when we visited the care center in Ethiopia after picking him up. He was silent. He was expressionless. He clung to me, feeling most comfortable chest to chest. I wish I knew what he was thinking or remembering. Did he think he would be left? Was he remembering sad times? I have no idea, but he only relaxed ever so slightly during the 45 minutes we spent with them.

He has so much left to process, so much left to grieve. This will not happen in a day or a week or even a year. The first years of his life are a part of who he is forever. One of our goals as Joshua's parents is to help him truly heal versus ignore, block-out, or dismiss his losses as unimportant. By the grace of God, we hope to be like plastic surgeons. We hope to use great care and the tiniest "stitches" so that he will have the smallest of scars.

I pray that as he heals he will become like a bone that has been broken, reset, and healed stronger than before the break.

Once again I take comfort that the Word promises, "He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it." Joshua Gebeyehu life is already an amazing testimony of God's unfailing love and faithfulness. He has brought Joshua out of hunger and loneliness - into our family. He (God) has worked miracle after miracle to make that connection happen. It will be absolutely awesome to witness the plan God has for Joshua's life.

"For I know the plans I have for you (Joshua Gebeyehu), declares the Lord. Plans to strengthen you NOT to harm you. Plans to give you (Joshua Gebeyehu) HOPE and a FUTURE." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just Joshua

Sometime over the last 2 weeks Gebeyehu has "become" Joshua. My son no longer ever refers to himself as Gebeyehu. In fact if we call him Gebeyehu or Gubs as Jamison likes to call him, he just giggles.

The complete switch has taken us all a little by surprise. But to all of you who were still trying out how to pronounce Gebeyehu, our little man has just taken an item off your to do list. He goes by JOSHUA.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Yeah Camper!"... our weekend in pictures

Here is Joshua's report of our weekend at the lake...

Momma and Daddy finally let me ride the tube!
YEAH!!! Daddy!!! That was a good bump! MORE, MORE!
Sometimes Daddy drives a little too slow, then I pretend to go to sleep. (Yep, he pretended to sleep when the ride got "boring." He is funny and brave!)
Tubing is fun!
I also LOVE the 4-wheeler. I play on it when no one will take me for a ride. Everyone gives me lots of attention. When I call my family to me they will always come. Here they even pose for a silly picture!
Jay gets bored sometimes and plays with Momma's camera.
Sierra too. I do not get away with that!
Momma and Daddy and I go for long walks.
Uncle Jeremy and Auntie Teresa came this time. That was fun. Uncle Jeremy brought his boat. It is pretty!
I'd rather be riding on the boat or 4-wheeler, but once in a while I let my family read and relax.
Sierra, Brenna, and Momma worked on posters for my friends who come home today! I am so excited to see them again!
I play on a blanket sometimes, but the dogs always come lay on it and make it grassy. Yucky!
Krissy and Jay lit off the snakes we forgot about on the 4th of July. Looks like kaka to me! Yucky kaka!
I asked Momma to take this picture. She likes to take pictures you know.
Uncle Jeremy let me drive his boat! I said, "Look Momma! Joshua Jeremy's boat! Pretty!"
We got to ride in Uncle Jeremy's boat, I got to sit between Momma and Daddy.
Daddy and I watched Krissy and Sierra tube for a while.
Then I got tired and wanted to sit on Momma's lap for a nap. I love naps on the boat!
Krissy and Sierra tubed a long time.
Remember how I used to be scared of dogs? Not anymore! At least I am not scared of Molly! I walked Molly. Boy was I proud!
Daddy cooks a lot when we camp!
Jay tickles me!

So... now you know why I love the camper. How many sleeps until next weekend?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yeah Camper!

One of the best things about 2-year-olds is that they remember the things that they like. After Joshua woke up from his nap today I told him we needed to pack his bag for the camper. He responded with, "Yeah!!!! Camper!!!"

I got out his bag and he reminded me to pack his swimming clothes and swimming shoes and his jacket (life jacket). Then he ran around asking all his siblings if they were going in the camper too.

He is now waiting by the door for Daddy to bring the camper home calling, "Daddy home?"

I respond, "Not yet. Daddy will be here soon and then Joshua will go camping!"

His response, "YEAH!!!! CAMPER!!!!"

I am thinking it will be a fun weekend! We are going to try camping with Auntie Teresa, Uncle Jeremy and their dogs. It is the first time we have camped with "extras". It will be interesting to see how Joshua does with extended time with other people.

***Please keep my our friends in your prayers Saturday and Sunday as they will be in the process of flying home from Ethiopia with their sons and Joshua's friends Ageze and Tesfa. We are so excited to greet them at the airport! BUT I all too clearly remember the flight home... it was LOOOOOONG! Please pray for peaceful, sleepy, safe travels and a great homecoming!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Run Down

Jamison, the boy who sleeps until noon, spent the week at basketball camp. It was intense - 9 am to 4:30 pm. He is tried, sore, and sporting a twisted ankle. (He also learned a lot and had a super time!) Here is to a sleepy, lazy weekend at the lake!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bedtime and other updates

As I have stated before the very hardest time of day for Joshua is nap time and bed time. While these times are still not what I would consider "normal" for a 2-year-old, they are improving.

Joshua no longer panics when it is time to get ready to sleep. After lunch when I remind him it is nap time, he reminds me that he needs to tell everyone currently in our house "mah tah mah tah." They we go shinty, read a book, he turns off the light, and we rock. He is usually asleep peacefully in 20 minutes or so of rocking. Then I lay him in his bed and he sleeps well for about an hour. About an hour after I lay him down he calls for me. Usually I lay him back down and rub his back until he falls bask to sleep. He wakes up again in 40 min. or so ready to cuddle a few minutes and have a snack.

Bedtime is not quite as smooth. The routine begins with a bath, then a snack and cup of warm milk. Next he tells everyone (including the dog and the big fish) "mah tah mah tah". Then we go shinty, get on a diaper, read a book, and turn off the light. We settle into the rocking chair for prayers and cuddles. He snuggles right in with his little thumb in his mouth. However, at bedtime he is much more restless than at naptime. He wiggles and squirms, fighting sleep. I rock him until the wiggles get to me, then I lay him in his crib. He can handle being in his crib as long as I am touching him, so I rub his back or hold his hand until he finally falls asleep. The last week it takes him about an hour to an hour and a half to fall asleep. UGH! He wakes up between 12 and 3 and calls for me. He comes to bed with us at that point and keeps squished up next to me until morning. (Seriously he is RIGHT next to me or on top of me!)

I am very thankful it is summer. During the school year the best one on one time I have with the older kids is between 8:00 and 9:30 - Joshua's "touch me time." Luckily I get time with them during the day right now.

While I am SO THANKFUL that going to sleep no longer causes Joshua to panic, the amount of time it takes to get him settled in is draining. I feel like I have no "me" time. By the time he is asleep, I am done for. I am too worn out to make a phone call, watch a movie, or even really chat with Chad. Since Joshua panics if he can not find me right away in the morning, I can not sneak out of bed early and go for a run or whatever.

However, I also sense that he is not ready yet for me to force him to learn to sleep on his own. I have been very strict with the kids about bedtime and learning to put themselves to sleep, and we will get there with Joshua too. Joshua loves to pretend. This morning, his favorite game was to pretend he was going to sleep. We have been talking about how his siblings go to sleep by themselves and sleep in their own beds, so I thought maybe he wanted to role-play that himself. I walked into his room and rocked him in a silly way to make sure he knew I was playing. Then I lay him in his crib "like Brenna" and playfully started to leave the room. He totally freaked out! He was in tears of panic in half a second.

So... we keep waiting for him to be more secure. Not only do we have the transition to America and attachment with our family to work on, he has also NEVER slept in a room by himself in his entire life. I keep telling myself to celebrate the baby steps. He is doing SO much better, but I get impatient some times. Hanging out in his room while the rest of the house is watching a movie or playing a game is hard - BUT once it is over it is over. He will never again want to be held and cuddled as much as he does right now, so I best remember to enjoy it!

Many people have asked if we can communicate with him. The answer to that is a BIG YES! His language acquisition is amazing! He can repeat anything and can tell us pretty clearly in English what he wants and needs. His speech is a little hard to understand - but what 2-year-old's isn't? I have NO concerns about speech or communication.

He likes to add an "ee" sound to the ends of words. Last night I was visiting with a neighbor and we commented on it being hot out. Chad echoed that he was hot as well. Joshua chimed in "Yep, Daddy hottie!" We all got a good chuckle out of that one.

This week I have taken Joshua to our office twice. (We have gone in to quickly switch files many times, but this week I have tried to actually get some work done while at the office.) The first time he played with Daddy in the equipment, but today he quietly played in the office for about an hour and a half. That is huge! I almost feel like an "employee" getting in some time at the office plus the work I do while he naps or plays with his siblings. We will keep working on office time. I think starting day care would be a bad decision at this time. But I do need to start working a bit more. Chad and I share a very informal office and I can do a lot from home which is very helpful, but some things just have to be done in the office. So little man will have to be my office buddy for a while!

We met friends at the park for lunch today. Joshua is getting better at not "shutting down" when new people are around. He is also doing better with sharing my attention. He was able to play some on his own while I visited close by. He does not have any interest in playing with kids his age. Yesterday a talkative little girl came to introduce herself while we were swinging. Once Joshua figured out she wanted to play with him he told me he was ready to go home!

DOGS! I will finally call Joshua and Riley friends! Joshua no longer shows any fear of Riley. He even pushed him back onto his rug when he sneaked off this morning. He is not as sure about other dogs, but he has dared himself to touch 3! His little heart was racing when he touched the first one, but he was not as scared with the others.

So progress is happening! My number one prayer request for now is for wisdom and patience on the issue of sleep. It is getting better though for which I am most thankful!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One Crazy Morning

Joshua is learning how to go with the crazy flow around here. Let me tell you about our morning.

6:15 Daddy gets up and ready for work. Momma and Joshua lounge in bed.

6:50 Momma gets up... quietly... hoping Joshua will keep sleeping.

7:00 Momma out of shower trying to wake Brenna.

7:20 Momma almost ready, Brenna still snoozing, Joshua fast asleep.

7:30 Brenna finally up and trying to get ready.

7:50 Krissy (who is totally organized and gets going with no problem) leaves for summer school.

8:00 Brenna finally ready (or so we think). Joshua is sound asleep on Momma's shoulder. We head out the door to get Brenna to school - already late - she is supposed to be there at 8. I decide to check in Brenna's backpack and guess what? There is a field trip today and Brenna needs lunch!? Seriously? We have a debate about just skipping which Brenna wins so I help her pack cold lunch with a still almost sleeping JG balanced between my shoulder and the counter.

8:15 Brenna dropped off at school. Joshua is now awake enough to start chattering.

8:25 Home. Hope to feed Joshua quick and then get Jamison to basketball camp. Joshua does not want to eat until he sees me open the fridge and something catches his eye. I have no idea what he wants so badly so get him out of his chair to show me. He wants his leftover popcorn chicken and fries from lunch yesterday. So in the microwave it goes.

8:45 Leave to bring Jay to basketball camp looking like this.
Yep! Leftovers on his lap. Face needing to be washed. No shoes - but he has his glasses. What a life!

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Drivers

The biggest news at our house today is ALL about driving.

Krissy received her learner's permit today. She is officially driving - with supervision of course! Her Dad insisted she drive home. So the very first vehicle she drove was a 1 Ton Ford Diesel Truck. I think she was quite terrified, but they all made it home in one piece. (Can you see this little beauty in a BIG construction truck?) I see a small car in our near future. Every vehicle we have is BIG, and that makes it pretty hard to learn. Besides she may as well get used to driving something a little more in her price range.

Joshua got his first bike. Always cautious, he had to walk it a little before sitting.

Look Momma, (or should I say Hi A Toot - he still likes the Amharic better on this phrase)!

Hi Momma! I am riding!

Riding is hard work! (Notice the I am taking a break slouch)

Even MORE exciting than riding his bike was riding in Daddy's PAYLOADER! He was so so excited when Chad went to get it. He stood at my office door grinning and yelling "Bye Momma! Payloader! Daddy get you!"

Did you know payloaders have horns? That was a majorly big hit with our 2-year-old! He sat on Chad's lap and was honking the horn, flipping the blinker switch, and steering as much as possible. He was quiet and taking it all in, but insistent in trying out every button Daddy would allow.

Joshua and Daddy even scooped up a few buckets of dirt. Joshua loved this. I wish I had his explanation on video as he told me all about it. He said, "Momma... Daddy payloader... bucket... woosh" He was so excited he could barely get the words out - breathing fast - and using lots of gestures. When I filled in the blanks for him " You lifted up dirt in the payloader bucket?" He yelled, "YEAH!" and clapped and giggled.

Before we left the shop today he also talked his Daddy into a ride in the backhoe. Momma sneaked in a little filing instead of photographing that one. When we got in the Expedition to leave he yelled "Bye!" to both the backhoe and payloader until they were WAY out of site.

Much to his Daddy's delight we have a little "motorhead" on our hands! Nothing is as exciting to Joshua as something with wheels and a motor. Daddy is LOVING IT!