Sunday, May 13, 2012

how're things?

Things are really well.

I'll try to update all-around without writing a novella.  No promises.  :)

Obviously, with today being Mother's Day, I feel very reflective.  God is just so good.  I don't know what else I can say to express my gratitude for how I feel on this Mother's Day.  I have absolutely experienced joyful Mother's Days in the past.  I have felt undeserving of the blessing of being a mom.  I just feel so grateful to be a mother -- literally the earliest and clearest call on my life.  From the youngest age, I knew I wanted to be a mom.  I dreamed of being a mom.  There's no other role in my life that engulfed my desires like being a mom did.  This immense childhood desire conjured up marathons of playing 'house' with my childhood friend, Courtney.  We played for eight to ten hours a day, literally.  Put us in her basement with her play kitchen, some dolls and her ping pong table (that was our car) and we were good for an entire Saturday.  We hardly surfaced to eat, use the bathroom or breathe fresh air.  It was intense.  And, for me, the desire to be a mom was always intense.  So I'm thankful.  Oh so thankful.  God has not only given me the gift of biological children, but the joy and pleasure of adopting a precious, precious child.

Just like when we found out we'd spontaneously conceived twins, I've never felt so loved by God than I do right now.  That God would give us these little people to raise and love and nurture is a true gift.

Here it comes...

Sure.  I struggle.  I have my moments.  Y'all know this by now.  But all in all, I love my children and, today, has been a day to slow down a bit and realize what a blessing it is to be their mom.  I didn't choose them.  Even James.  A whole host of things could've prevented us from adopting James.  God planned every single aspect of our family.  Every member is meant to be and every member brings me great joy.


How're things?

Let's start with Payton...

Payton is well.  Tomorrow, she'll wrap up her science class at Westminster Academy.  She's enjoyed it a lot and will take three classes there next year.  We love that it's a 'sprinkling' of school (three hours a week) and it allows us to give her that 'school' experience that in so many ways is rich, fun and wonderful.  Westminster's very small and very fitting for our family.

She had to do an experiment on combustion so we she and JD built a fire Friday night in our fire pit.  We roasted marshmallows, of course.   And Lucy (our black lab) tried to eat one -- on the wire roasting stick!  Did I mention they were jumbo marshmallows?  That dog.  :)

Payton is easing into a more 'realistic' role in James' life.  She is not at his side most minutes of the day anymore.  And James is adjusting.   He calls her name through the house and sometimes out the back screen door into the back yard to find her.  Sometimes she comes; other times he goes and hunts her down.  Nonetheless, she needs to have her time curled up in her book and he needs to learn that he can't spend his days on her hip as he did the first month he was with us.  She was his go-to-gal and now he's having to be satisfied with other caregivers.  Including Avery...

Avery is doing well!  She had her 'mock meet' for gymnastics yesterday.  She's worked so hard this year and it really showed.  She loves it and it seems to love her.  :)  She is done with school, for now.  We are waiting to see what her (and Payton's) tests scores are for this year.  We've decided that we'll be done until they come, but if there are areas of weakness then we'll work on them this summer.  If there are, I think it'll be minimal since they seemed very strong on their test-prep work.

Avery has become the new 'love' of James' life.  If he can't have JD, me or Payton, he's asking for Avery.  And Avery's happy to oblige.  She carts him all over the place.  Just a week or so ago, with a deflated tone, she asked me when he would be able to say her name...well!...boy, does he have it down now!  He is calling for her off the deck, at the bottom of the stairs, out the window of the car, you name it.  It is precious.  We couldn't be more grateful for how our biological kids have welcomed James with open arms and hearts.

As for Jackson, he is just the biggest helper ever.  I ask him to grab something, 'sure!'  I ask him to run downstairs for something, 'sure!'  I ask him to pick up his toys or make his bed or put his dirty clothes away, 'sure!'  It's truly a gift he has!  We adore him.  When we're out and about, he shuffles around with his hands in his pockets just quietly taking in the world.  He's one of those boys you just want to squeeze to death.  I am so grateful for him.  He adds so much to our days.  He's just a joy to have around.

Jackson loves James well.  For the most part, he gets that he needs to be James' big brother -- by primarily helping him.  And that's right up Jackson's alley!  He also seems to get that James is littler, so Jackson can concede to him well.  He can hand over the toy when James screams for it.  Don't get me wrong, there are moments, but they're fewer and farther between than with, say, Brooks...  :)

Brooks and Jackson are amazingly different.  For twins, it's so cool to see.  Of course, they have a lot in common too -- they're both five-and-a-half year old boys!  Brooks is purely delicious.  If I could only get my hands on him!  But he's not a cuddler.  When I grab him, he pulls away.  He's uncomfortable with that kind of closeness.  He can't be bothered.  Although, I know he needs it, so I dish it out anyway.  Brooks is very imaginative and playful.  He'll often go outside and play by himself -- just him and his toy.  He's so content.  I watched him out the window the other day as he wandered around the yard talking to himself and have sword fights with imaginary adversaries.  He's awesome.

James, for whatever reason, seems to have the littlest tolerance for Brooks (this would be a prayer request).  Perhaps it's because Brooks doesn't cater to James as much.  If he wants to play with a toy that James thinks is his or that James is playing with, he just takes it.  Of course, James screams and we officially have a power struggle on our hands!  Yet they have very sweet moments too...Brooks loves to help James with his yogurts in the mornings, he loves to pick out James' clothes, and he loves to play in the bath with James.  The dynamic between Brooks and James isn't something we're overly concerned about at this point because it could easily pass.

All in all, our kids are doing so extraordinarily well.  It's crazy to us.  We know James' addition into our family could've been so, so much more bumpy.  It has really been ridiculously smooth.

And, I should mention that JD and I are doing well too.  For now, parenting five kids hasn't seemed that much different than parenting four.  Of course, God has given us an abundance of support from family and friends which makes it all possible.

Now, to the latest with James...

First of all, he is chattering away!  His English acquisition is coming along well.  And he's acquired a few signs, so communication is happening!  :)

He can say:
Thank You
*Please (the most adorable two-fingered sign ever!)
*Bye-Bye (okay, maybe this is the most adorable!)

*signs this, too.

One of the coolest stride James has made is that he's moved into Brooks and Jackson's room!  I came home late one night and saw our bedroom light on!  I knew instantly that JD must've put James in with Brooks and Jackson.  We'd been talking about trying it and JD decided to go for it!  Boy, am I glad he did.  :)  It is so, so nice to have our room back!  We can read in bed and chat and not have to tiptoe out in the morning.  The craziest thing!?  Ever since James has been in the boys' room with them, all our kids have been sleeping until at least 7 AM.  This is huge for our family.  In fact, on Saturday morning, every single one of us slept until 8 AM!  A Beam Team miracle!  I can't even remember the last time this happened.  It's been several years at least.

I feel like I want to video every moment of our days to share them with you!  There are the sweetest interactions and triumphs.  Believe it or not, James sings Katy Perry's song 'Firework'.  I just have to get a good video of it.  He's crazy about music.  It transforms him.

We now have weekly OT appointments, but are going to wait until after our Shriner's visit to decide about the frequency and necessity of PT.  Speech services have been offered to us, but we're going to play that by ear to and give him a little more time to acquire the language.

We did meet with a prosthetist last week.  That was interesting.  I want to fill y'all in, but I think it'll have to wait for the next post lest we'll be here all night!  Plus, JD and the kids and I are curling up to watch 'Oklahoma.'

The perfect ending to a fabulous Mother's Day.

Love to all of you celebrating today!

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