A long over due update 

Ourpuravida
Howdy peeps! How long has it even been? I don’t know at the moment because I’m typing this update on my notes app while on a plane bound for Costa Rica! No internet up here so I can’t even look at the blog! 
Well after almost 3 1/2 years after the adoption I know why adoption blogs almost all drop off drastically after the kids come home or not long after. You see it’s a privacy thing…. Writing about the process and even the kids is therapeutic while you’re in process. And I so much wanted to document the steps for families following along behind us since the program was still developing. But now, I get it. You can no longer blog to who knows how many strangers about every little thing going on in your life and how the kids are doing day to day. It’s no longer new and exciting. It’s day to day for us now. And mostly it’s good. Our kids have bonded to each other and to us better than we had any right to ask of them. And they have trusted themselves to us as parents. Around the time we hit the 4 year milestone next May we will be hitting a really huge milestone. Our kids will have been with us longer than they where in the children’s home, and for our youngest two, longer than they were with their bio mom. I can’t really put into words why I think this is a big deal. But it feels like it is important to me. 
God is working on their little hearts. We see it in the smallest changes and the biggest ones. In between being normal bratty picking on each other KIDS they demonstrate great love for each other, little times of helping each other, comforting each other, etc. it’s very sweet. They have been asking the hard questions. The big ones. Does God expect us to forgive someone who has done us a great wrong (I’m not talking about stealing a pencil here people. I’m talking about the big trauma….) and when we discussed it, then saying “ok I’m going to try” this is huge! 
When we first came home I loved making friends and talking to families behind us in the adoption process. And made some great friends (love you Audra and Laurie let’s get together again soon!). But I then went through a phase where I was a little bitter and jaded and didn’t even want to hear how excited these families were. Oh man I thought they have no clue what they are in for and our journey has been EASY PIECE OF CAKE WALK compared to other families!!!! Well I have recently made some contacts with new families and have found my joy in that again! We met a sweet couple starting the process of switching their paperwork to Costa Rica from another country in order to pursue a sibling group of FIVE!!! And y’all said we were crazy! Haha. I honestly love the joy they have! And seeing them walk their journeys reminds us of the drive we had to bring OUR KIDS home. The memory of literally laying on my face in prayer and tears for them to be matched with us! And the joy and shock when we finally heard that they were! Thank you God for these people in our lives that bring us back to seeing and remembering that part of the process! We are thankful for you all!
Recently I’ve begun talk with our adoption agency and a wonderful woman that is created a working memory cognitive brain therapy curriculum. We used the program with or kids and have been extremely please with the results! I have these grand ideas for future missions partnerships with (un)adopted and equipping minds. But I need to move slowly now and learn and wait and make sure this is God’s idea and not my own, because I have too many ideas! I’ve been thinking a lot on this plane and am seeing how this could work…. I’ve had a lot of interest from our Costa Rican families to want to take a mission trip back to Costa Rica wth their kids…. And I can see it!!!! 

Updates

We’ve had some ups and downs and mostly been really busy and too exhausted to keep up with the blog. But I’ve missed it so I am going to try to keep up with it again. 

The kids are currently E 15, L 11, B  10, Ag 10, and An 7. The 4 youngest play soccer and ride. The oldest rides, does hair, makeup, etc. everyone loves to swim! Hey have you heard it’s gonna be in the 90s this weekend??? Off to the river we go!

School is going well. E and B are doing A Beka academy and working in 4th grade. E also does khan academy for math so she can work at her level and speed. All the kids start their day by doing bible together. The others are doing time4learning. I hope to put them on A Beka academy next year in 2nd grade. I’m worried about spending the money and them not being able to keep up bc they need so much repetition…. Which is still one of the main reasons we continue to homeschool. We do A Beka academy/time4learning bc I’m also working 3 days a week and do not have time to be teacher. They self study their lessons and once a week or less ok usually less, I check their work. 

Things we are currently working on: speaking to each other with respect, finishing one task before moving on to the next, and completing our work before we play. 

We live on this farm that has become a true farm operation and they feel at times that they have way too much work to do! But it’s oh so good for them and they will realize that later. We have rabbits (for show and meat), chickens (eggs and meat), horses (riding), dogs (pets and fun and cuddles since no one is interested in 4-H dog club, cats (pets), and a turtle…  They stay pretty busy taking care of the animals and doing house/yard chores. 

Well that’s all for now. Dios te bendiga. 

doing too much, and yet not enough

Let’s see, last update was in May… What did we do in June and July???   We visited family in Michigan (cousin party and Lake Michigan, which looked a little different this year… we were not able to rent the lake house b/c we have simply outgrown it! Next year we hope to camp at the campgrounds we visited this year with all of our cousins! So excited) and with Aunt Monica  in Ohio several times! The kids enjoy her farm with swimming in the pond, fishing, camping out, yelling for “Mike”, kayaking, cooking out, and playing with their favorite… TACO el perrito (Taco the little dog).  What a great summer we’ve had visiting with everyone….

 

HOWEVER this has led to a very tired mommy coming into the start of our new school year!!!

 

We are now finished with our second full week of school and

 

I. am. exhausted.

 

Here is what our schedule looks like – due to Micah’s rotating schedule, I rotate my work schedule, and school rotates, so we have week 1 and week 2 schedules as follows:

Week 1:

Monday – Mommy work

Tuesday – Mommy work, Kid’s do self study/life skills with Daddy

Wednesday – Mommy works half day, School with mommy leading and self study

Thursday – School day

Friday – School day

Saturday – School day (yes we do, a full regular day)

 

Week 2:

Monday – School day

Tuesday –  Mommy works half day, School with mommy leading and self study

Wednesday – Mommy work, Kid’s do self study/life skills with Daddy

Thursday – Mommy work

Friday – School day

Saturday – School day (yes we do, a full regular day)

 

Oh and now we are playing soccer, that’s 4 days a week… 6 when games start….

 

So today:

School day – check

Kids playing in rain – check

Mom on couch – check (don’t judge. I’ve got a 29 minutes break before supper prep and then supper and then bedtime and then lesson planning)

 

Some people think I’m doing too much….. Hahaha. Might be right. Just might be right.

 

But here is the thing. If God brings me to it God will give me the strength to get through it. Seriously.  It’s cliche as are so many other things I could think to say about my our lives right now. It’s the phase of life we are in.  Enjoy the kids now while they are little. They grow up so fast.  And boy.  These things are so true. A friend through our adoption agency has gone through one of the hardest things anyone will ever face as a parent – the death of a child.  And each and everyday I think of her.  I see her posts on facebook. and she is smiling. so I take these cliches to heart dear ones. I drop what I’m doing and enjoy my kids. I am training myself to say yes to them, and if I have to say no, then to say “please ask me again.” Because wow I don’t want any regrets, I don’t want my son to be gone and my last memory of him be him asking me to kick a soccer ball and me saying no.  So yeah, I’m doing too much, and I’m exhausted.  and those that are closest too me know this is not being done without alot of complaining and grumbling and headaches and heartaches (I’m working on this b/c we’ve sure enough been told to do everything we do without those things….) but for now I’ve all but given my sweet horse to my mom, I don’t take trips alone, I don’t get my me time, I don’t read as many books… but in exchange, I watch a movie with my teenage daughter, or cheer my sons and daughters on in soccer practice, or I struggle to explain math, or I teach responsibility for our actions, or I fight with them, or I play with them.  I’m saying yes to them and they are not too much, they are precious everything that God has given to me for a time, and for this reason I will honor this time.  and I will try to complain less.  and for the sweet family that has to miss their boy every day, if you’ve read this, just know that everyday, a fellow mom lifts your sweet heart in prayer, my heart cries for your heart and may your pain be lifted day by day. You are loved.

365

I could make 100 posts about being home a year. I don’t know where to start, and I don’t know where to end. Everything up until today, this moment in time we have had firsts. Tomorrow we have seconds. The second VBS is coming up, second summer, second fall, etc. we’ve faced changes and chaos and piles and piles of laundry. We’ve faced tears and laughter. We’ve faced emergency room visits. And all of that was just today. We’ve faced 365 of those kinds of days. Yet it has become…..

Just normal

We do what we do, and we do it day in and day out. And some days we break and cry under the pressure. Yet some days we stand tall and just do the hard work. A good friend said to me ” that’s parenting” when asking for some advice. It’s hard work and it doesn’t matter if they are bio kids or adopted kids or if there is one or 15. It’s just hard. The advice I read on one great blog about the first year was to just turn down your wild crazy emotions and just do the hard worked. Sometimes that’s easy and sometimes that really really hard. And somewhere in the last 365 days it has become….

Just normal

And it’s good. We are in a time of routine and normal. Sometimes it’s more hectic than normal but most days we just flow. We get up, we eat breakfast, get dressed, do school, play, go to ball games and practices, ride horses, or whatever. Most days there is no drama, just wonderful kids doing kid things. And we are so blessed that our bio kids and adopted kids have bonded together and love each other, they are seriously so close. It’s amazing to watch. Ben is learning Spanish, as is Anna. Anna is growing her hair out to be like Ericka. Luciano and Benjamin hate being separated. Angelly is becoming independent and brave and loves playing with all of her siblings equally.

I can’t believe it’s been a year already and I’m looking forward to finding out what the next year brings!!!

Dios te bendiga y buenas noches

Homeschooling the five

Did you see it coming my friends? In hindsight, yes I did too… From praying God would not call me to homeschool, to the carefully not saying never, to the blog posts and statements that school is good for my kids despite the negatives… Well. So here we are…. Starting our 4th week of homeschooling all five kids!!!

We are now “one of those” “weird homeschooling families” “with lots of kids”. Hahahaha. And I want a baby. Hahahaha.

We have had super good days, we have had super bad days, and we have had normal blah days. But at this moment in time, I will say it has been one of the best decisions ever for our family.

So how does it work you ask with them at so many different levels? Did you quit work? How do you do it? How do you like it?

Well, they are not on too many different levels. We are working through what they know and in some areas it’s the same for all. We are still working on a good schedule, but we use technology and centers (things the kids can do solo) while I work one on one with others. I’ve got a small group for math that is working together, I’ve got 2 that can read independently and 2 that need me sitting by them. And we get to do bible class. We are doing the abc bible verses, we are learning them in English and talking about what they mean. It’s so rewarding to hear them learning about God.

I am continuing to work 20 hours a week. This means that I now have no down time. I lesson plan in free time. The work keeps me somewhat sane though, breaking the cycle of what I’m doing and gets me out of the house. They get one day a week with dad, doing lessons or gym (aka farm work), depending on the weather, they do four days with me, including Saturdays, and they get 1 free day a week (with a grandma). I’m very grateful for the grandmas stepping up

We like it. The kids are learning to take responsibility for their work and we love all the time together. Attitudes are improving and bonds are being formed.

I want to be clear, we loved our kids teachers and didn’t leave the public school because of any bad things that had happened. We just loved the bonding. And the not riding the bus for 2 hours. And the having extra time in the day to do fun stuff. And the bible time.

In other random news –
Dentist appointments went ok…. 3 have to go back for more work and 1 got an ortho referral…. We took him today and they are gonna do a treatment plan to bring his front teeth in… From toothless, to buck toothed, to braces…. All within a year poor kid…. He also got glasses…. He doesn’t wear them often yet but he has them.

We’ve been having some hard conversations, good conversations, healing conversations. Please continue to pray for these conversations and bonding and healing moments. The three ticos continue to have bad dreams, so pray from relief from this as well.

We are so happy it’s warming up, but they did better than expected with the winter weather… Especially considering we’ve had the coldest, snowiest winter in years and years…. They are ready for camping and swimming, bring on summer!!!

Nos vemos amigos

Homeschool: pros & cons

Another fb status update turned blog…

I was careful not to say “never” gonna homeschool. I begged God not to call me to homeschool all 5. I even wrote a pretty convincing blog about why I wasn’t called to homeschool them all.

And then I started doing it on our snow days (we are up to 13 now by the way, and working on the 2nd time we will have been out for a straight week at a time).

And. I. Loved. It.

So I’ve compiled this list from other moms about the pros and cons

Pros:
-You know what they know
-You know what they need to learn
-You can tailor classes to their strengths and weaknesses
-Time with kids
-Family bonding both with siblings and parents
-Can teach Christian values
-Prepares for college bc they are ore independent learners
-More time with family
-No homework/ tired evenings/weekends
-Personal growth in Christ
-Kids growth in Christ
-Ability to be flexible
-Kids learn to tutor each other
-Time for outside activities
-Lack of bad peer pressure
-Lack of bullying
-No snow days
-can learn English in the context of Spanish, which is way more effective
-more time with kids in general
-more flexible schedules
-kids can learn about things they are interested in
-Less money in clothes
-Less money in food
-Less money in gas
-Can do activities when others are in school, making it cheaper

Cons:
-Distractions of life
-Getting annoyed by kids’ attitudes
-Kids slowness/lack of motivation
-Lack of peer pressure to motivate
-Cost of supplies
-mom never gets a break
-it takes more effort to socialize

Homeschool. Snow days.

I stinking love having all my kids home and doing homeschool with them all…. Yes I’ve been told I’m crazy a lot these past few years…. I vote no more snow days…. I need to forget how awesome it is to sleep in, cover everything you need to in a day, have chores done, and be done and get to PLAY and RELAX with my kids who are not strung out and exhausted from a day at school, which includes 2+hours on the bus…. I love and support the public school system, and think what you want of me for that, but I could easily be talked into homeschooling my kids…. Just have to figure out who is gonna watch and teach them the 20hours, plus driving, I need to go to work…. Ok so this status just turned into a blog post…. Haha

Yes I just cut and pasted what started as a Facebook status update to my blog.

As I watch post after post pop up of people saying the school needs to cancel due to weather, I’m the only patent here saying, “Nooooo Bundle them up and go” and it’s not why most think. Most think I want a break from my kids (who were just home 2 weeks from Christmas break, followed by 2 snow dAys after the new year, followed by a 9 day stretch of no school due to snow days and a holiday and weekends….). I don’t want a break. I want this life full time people. During our time off I put all kids in homeschool and we worked our butts off and were productive. They loved it, I loved it. No one in this house wants these kids to go to school.

Except me. Confused???? Yeah me too….

See the thing is, my job is pretty nice, flexible. Awesome boss. Working part-time gets me some alone time as I drive and friends to talk to. It also keeps what is pretty good insurance for the cost, in this day and age of insurance issues, this is no small thing.

But “if God calls you to do something He will provide the means”

Yeah He will….

But just because you “want” something, doesn’t mean you are “called” to it….

Yes. If I was called God would give me the ability, patience, and money to do so. But I don’t think I’m called….

Yes. I’m called to homeschool my oldest, for a time anyway. But for others, the littles, the environment there is driving them and pushing them in ways I can’t/don’t at home….

So this is our life…. Our Pura Vida

Buenas noches