Wednesday, April 4, 2012

No, this isn't about.....

Nope, this is not about what happened to my hubby today.  Nope, it isn't.  Hee, hee.  Really, it isn't, because it isn't funny at all anyway.  Nope, so if you know what happened to him today, feel free to comment or not, but I for one am NOT tattling on him today.  (LOL!  That was just to really rib him, but no, I won't share.  Let's just say that he is just fine, thankfully, and tomorrow he will feel somewhat better.  Pride wounded, but other than that, he is well.  Bruised but well.  For that we are really, really grateful, as stuff can be replaced, but HE cannot be.)

So on to  a real blog post.

Spring is coming.  It is here.  Amazingly, early in Wisconsin.  I am just itching to do so much stuff.

I am looking into raising some meat chickens this summer and giving that a try.  Of course, honestly that means that Steve and the boys will do the butchering but I would do all else up to that.  I keep trying to figure it out.  I figure that we need two chickens to feed this crew for a meal.  And I would love to make chicken once a week or so.  Maybe one every other week.  For a year.  So, if I figure every other week, for nearly a year, that means 26 meals, two birds a meal.  Hmm.  More than 50 birds.  I don't know if I can manage that many at one time, or that I would ever consider asking my guys to butcher that many at one time.  That would be a really long, ugly job.  We only need to raise them eight to ten weeks before they are ready to butcher.  So we could get a couple batches in during the summer.  (I am SO done with having baby chicks in the house!!!!  Five years running and I really, really don't want any more in the house!!!!)  Hmm.  Hubby promised me he would put together a brooder and chick run for them.  Outside.  Yay!  I have looked at several hatcheries before, and we have ordered from a couple, but I really like Cackle Hatchery and they have great deals.  If I was crazy enough to order 100 at a time, I could get a huge deal, but that really sounds like suicide to me.  My hubby and boys may never speak to me again if I do that.  I can raise them, but um, yeah.  So, if I get up the courage, I will order some maybe yet this week!

I am also cleaning out my herb area of my garden - I have been cleaning out and seeing what is coming up.  The problem is, well, um, I didn't document what is where, and now I have forgotten.  Drat.  I can recognize the borage, but the rest is sort of a mystery right now.  I will pull out my books and get looking on that as soon as I find a moment.  Azeb and Kahsu were helping me, and let's just say, the plants barely survived!  I may bribe big kids to play with the littles on the swingset or trampoline while I try to garden!

Naptimes tend to be busy for getting stuff done - in theory I really want that to be my shower time, but that hasn't happened yet either!  Laundry, sewing, sorting, decluttering, and on and on.  I tend to be a bit distracted and want to get stuff done, but can only see what is right in front of me. Of course the big kids generally are also wanting to take that time for some more intense mom time too.  So, we could say that I am having difficulty getting in regular showers yet!  I so recall that when my other kiddos were newborns I rarely got one either.  That is what it feels like, times two!

We are working on getting our school schedule worked out with toddlers in tow.  I haven't done school with the kids this way in a very long time, since Faith was little and then when we had Emma.  We are slowly getting it worked out.  There are adjustments that we are all making, but it is coming.  The kids are doing lots and lots reading, and we are tying in their book report books to their lessons in one way or another.  We are using lots of living books and that is really turning out to be wonderful.  Quite the range of books with the age ranges and reading levels!

Well, I had better get going towards bedtime.  Mornings start early here.  I think I will try to hit the shower first.  That may be my only hope of getting one.  (I hate showering at night, I just do.)

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, April 1, 2012

We're really fine!!! We did get home!!!

I need to apologize to anyone who may have been looking to see how we are doing and if I made it back from Ethiopia!!!!  WE DID!  It was a wonderful, crazy, intense, insane and amazing ride, but I have been home with Azeb and Kahsu for three weeks as of this afternoon!



It has been a time of adjustment and transition for everyone, getting to know our wee ones, and changing our lives to be a family of twelve with TEN children, ages 2 to 17.  The little girls are doing great.  Kahsu is the little one, two years old as of the end of November, and came home at a miniscule weight of 15.8 pounds.  As of Thursday the29th she weighed in at 17 pounds! So a gain of 1.2 pounds in two weeks.  She runs around, plays with the animals and her siblings, and chatters up a storm.  She is a strong willed little girl, but as she adjusts she is doing more interacting rather than tantruming, which we are grateful for!  In fact, tantrums are generally reduced to twice a day, and generally over predictable things that you would expect from two year old.  She loves to be held, and will take us by the hand to show us things she is interested in.  Her smile lights up the room and it is hard to not give her everything when she smiles at you.  (As I write this, she and Aman are playing and she is giggling up a storm, squealing and chattering with him.)

Azeb is the bigger of the girls - three years old Christmas Eve.  We didn't really have preconceived notions about what a three year old with Down Syndrome would be like, given that she hadn't had early intervention or anything.  Well, I haven't done a formal assessment, but she is pretty spot on as far as I am concerned.  She runs and climbs and is well know as the "entertainment committee" , and she has never met someone whom she did not consider her best friend.  We know that she uses at least 20 words in Tigrayna, and has learned four signs (more, eat, please, all done) since I took custody.  She understands and follows multistep directions - some in English with gestures, and some in Amharic.  She remembers really well and imitates everything wonderfully.  She is a sunny, energetic, expressive child.  Busy is a very good description of her.  But in a delightful way.  We had to get child sized brooms because she was wanting to sweep like we do and nearly taking everything out with the handle of the big broom!!!  We even bought a little broom to take to the stable with us because she loves to follow behind and sweep!

Oh, my.  The big kids are playing with the littles so I can write this, and they are surely getting them wound up, and hopefully exhausted.  I am hearing squeals, laughter, screams and giggles quite loudly.  It is an interesting mix having teens down to toddlers - the phrases you hear sometimes are hysterical.  Such as:  a teen is sitting between the two car seats in the car as we run her to a friend's house - "Don't you touch me with those sticky fingers!"  I just giggle.  Of course, said teen did end up part way covered in cracker crumbs!

When people ask the kids how it is going they generally say "loud" though that has gotten to be less and less of the response as time has gone on.  It is getting easier every day and more routine.  When Kahsu runs in here by the computer as I type this, with Faith crawling close behind, pretending to be a puppy, Kahsu squealing all the way, and she puts up her arms for me to take her, and throws those tiny arms around my neck - well, how can you not just melt?  Then she wiggles down, blows me kisses, waves "bye" and runs off, big sister close behind.

I have to say, having parented toddlers before, raising them to teens and getting to start over, is great fun.  It turns out, I still have a huge bag of tricks and tons of experience that really means not much phases us.  If we haven't experienced it, we have talked to other parents over the years who have.  So, I can confess to you, that YES, I DO duct tape Azeb's diapers closed.  NOT on the skin, but across the tabs to keep them closed.  You really don't even have to ask why we had to resort to that - let's just say that you can only fool Mom three times (and make a horrible mess that nearly makes THIS mom gag) before she pulls out the big guns.  So, yes, in our diaper bag you will find a scissors (needed to get it off) and duct tape.  And the diaper bag stays securely closed and up high, away from little fingers.  LOL!  I have a whole different perspective on it this time around.  I have seen my littles grow up into bigs and all that goes between, and can relax a little and enjoy this without some of the worries I had before.  Each child is different, and has different needs and challenges, but I find that wealth of experience is great help.  I can relax and delight in some of this, where before I may have felt unsure about some things.  I know that many things are phases of development and will pass, and some are growing experiences.

So, yes, we are fine.  Exhausted, but fine.  Learning to balance our new life.  I don't try to go to Wednesday night church myself - the littles need to head to bed and it is just too late, but I take the bigs to meet up with Dad, swap vehicles and head home to snuggle the littles before sleep.  It is a new pattern, but a nice one.  There are some things that we just have to change.  There are some things that need to flex some.  But it is all good.  We are thanking God daily, when we have a moment to breathe and realize that after all that, they are really here, really thriving, and our family is blessed.  Busy, but blessed.

Our current list of activities for all the kids include: work (three kids), horse training/lessons, kennel club (same class for three kids and three dogs), 4H (less active than we had been previously), church, music lessons, and band (Alex).  It is busy, wonderful and fairly balanced.  We try to have only two busy days, balanced by two entire days at home, and two less busy and then Sundays.  The big kids need to have their things that they are interested in and growth, but it needs to be balanced by sanity and everyone's needs.  The boys are looking forward to soccer season starting in May, and Kiley to horse show season, also starting in early May.  Thankfully, the little girls love the horses!  And running around watching the soccer games will be great, but we will need to make sure they don't run ONTO the field to join their siblings!

I will try to update more frequently, but it will likely be at weird times (when everyone is asleep and I hv
"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11