when you are having fun.
And have 5 kids.
And can FINALLY be outdoors again!
It has been four months (and one week...because I am fashionably late) since we arrived home with Mari.
What is she up to these days?
Well, she is growing like a weed! She is putting on about one pound per month and outgrowing clothes right and left. Her grasp of the English language grows stronger and stronger, but thankfully she still mixes up words so delightfully that they leave us in stitches. She continues to enmesh her sweet self into our lives and seems more secure than ever. Her siblings have grown to truly love her and are quite protective of her, and she loves them right back.
Her memories of Ethiopia continue to trickle out little by little. She is obviously very young and I know she will not have many detailed memories as she gets older, but I encourage her to talk in the hopes that her memories will stay alive. Some of our talks have been fun, like what kind of animals she saw and who her friends were at the Transition Home. But some things are just hard. Some things, I'm not sure I want her to remember. For instance...
After a battle over food (she often refuses to eat...I have to find the right "currency"...such as going to bed early or no dessert when the rest of us have it) I asked her if she remembered her food in Ethiopia. Her reply: "In Ethiopia, I hungry."
So I tried my best to explain to her that Mommy loves her and does not want her to get sick. That if she doesn't eat she will get sick, but if she does eat she will grow and get big. She liked that idea. :)
Another question, when she seemed to be struggling with her permanency in our family, was about her birthmother. I felt it was time to bring her up so we would talk about how it was affecting Mari's heart. I asked her what she remembered about her "Ethiopia Mommy."
She answered "Her sad."
I had to swallow the lump in my throat to explain that her Ethiopia Mommy was sad because she had no food for her, that she loved Mari very much and wants her to be happy, that we have plenty of food and will always be able to give her what she needs and she will never have to go "bye bye" from our family.
And then I wished a million times that I could find her birthmother and fill her home with food and medicine and, well, running water. It kills me.
Every time we have a conversation like this, it seems to help her. As her language grows, so does her trust and confidence.
And when I ask her to do something (like pick up a toy) and she replies "Yessa my mommy!" my heart flips and I just want to sing over this precious little munchkin who skips happily around our house and giggles at the drop of a hat.
I. Love. Her.
But WAIT, there's more!
In the past weeks we have chased a squirrel out of our house (twice!) who flew out of our chimney THROUGH the fire, over the couch, under the kitchen table (where we SAT eating lunch) and into the laundry room!
Sweet mercy. My kids, they were a-freaking!
We have schooled...and schooled...and schooled. Gracie is reading (!) and DJ's writing skills have exploded! Katie inhales books faster than I can produce them and Drew has decided he wants to learn, too! Then Spring came and schooling has been more of an exercise of the will as the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming and...wait, that is SCIENCE out there! Let's go play!!
The kiddos started an enrichment course today at a local farm that is absolutely amazing. They came home chattering about all they saw and did and smelling quite ripe as a result! Good times.
But finally, I have to share a very bittersweet piece of news. If you are a reader of my former blog, you will remember my precious friend, "A." Well, on February 19th she stepped out of her cancer-ridden body and into the arms of Jesus. She went, literally, with a smile on her face. Though we knew the end of her earthly life was near, it still hit hard.
I miss her.
So the next week was spent saying "see ya' later" and celebrating her life. Loving on her kiddos who miss their mama so very much, weeping with her husband who would give anything to have had more time with her, and rejoicing at the thought of her healthy, safe, and vibrant in the presence of God. The day after she went Home I wrote a tribute to her that I posted on Facebook. I think I will share it here, but in its own post.
She deserves to be set apart.
So as you can see, life has been full to the brim as of late. I have been journaling more and blogging less. I have been spending more time with Jesus and less time on Facebook.
And I have been counting my blessings...one by one.
Oh yeah, I also read Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts, on a Florida beach over Spring Break.
Go, quick, and buy it.
It will change your life.
I am sure it has changed mine.