Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Our Thanksgiving Week


Kind of a different week, with the holiday and the high school kids being off 3 days, but a good week nonetheless!


I love it when the kids play together.  Weekends and days off make for more down time to be creative and to hang out with siblings.


Not sure who or what they are, but they look quite fierce.  This was Eli's artwork.


The dot markers made an appearance this week.  Katie's really doing well with learning her letters and numbers.


And Katie continues to enjoy her new alphabet color book from last week.


Both Hannah and Jack are still working on XtraMath.


Cleaning the school room, I came across a puzzle that we hadn't pulled out in a long time.  I set Katie to work on it, but it quickly became a group effort.


I love listening to them talk about all the letters and pictures.


I posted a picture of Luke on Instagram and had someone ask how he's doing, so it must be time for an update.

We've settled into a routine.  I'm very grateful to have Josiah home in the mornings so Luke can stay here when the rest of us take the big kids to school.  Luke now weighs in at 37 pounds, and unlike Hannah or Katie, he doesn't lean into you or hang on when you hold him, so it's an awkward, squirmy 37 pounds.

If you missed it, this picture was part of a toy review.

He is more smiley now, which is a good thing, since he's having more diaper blowouts.  It helps to be cute when someone discovered you've drug poop all over the carpet.  I can't fault the diapers; Luke scoots around on his bottom in a sitting position.  No disposable diaper could possibly withstand that kind of abuse.  I'm considering putting cloth diaper covers over his 'sposies as an extra layer to help contain things.

He's outgrowing the current settings on his wheelchair, both in his Buddha belly and in the foot rest area, and I seem to have lost the card of the guy who delivered it, so I need to do some research to find out how to get it made bigger.


One of the days off, I turned around and saw Jack and Sam reading.  Made me smile.


Lots of fun continues to be had with the building toys we reviewed earlier this week.

Although we didn't quite finish a full week of school this week, with the big kids home W-F, we did come close!  I think we'll end up back on track at the end of next week.


In addition to celebrating Thanksgiving this week, we had another special day, Hannah Day.  This sweet girl has been part of our family for 5 years now.

As we careen into December, my hope for you (and for myself) is that you will find balance between stressing out over doing everything to make Christmas "magical," and the paralysis of doing nothing because you know you can't possibly do it all.  May you find a way to make Christmas merry without making yourself resentful or crazy in the process.


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Thanksgiving at the Firehouse


More often than not, Paul works on Thanksgiving.  Some years we celebrate on a different day, and some years, like this one, we join him at the fire station for Thanksgiving.


The fire station that Paul is currently assigned to is in a 100 year old building.  With a fire pole.  Which, of course, the children found fascinating.  And by children, I mean teenagers.


Out on the roof, checking out the view.


That tower/dome/spire/whatchamadingle is right next to Mission San Rafael Arcangel.  It's kind of cool to get to drive by and see that on our way to visit Daddy.  Visiting all the missions is on my bucket list.  So far, I've only been to 4 of the 21 in the California chain.


Daddy let the teens go down the fire pole once, to get it out of their system.


Next time, Jack Jack.


The rest of us took the stairs down.  Those were almost as adventurous, really, an old spiral staircase.


"Okay, everybody get in front of the fire engine..."  The older kids have heard this over and over and over for many years now.


Some years we take bunches of fun pictures, and other years not so many.  With the big meal almost ready, we decided to go for a quick ride in the fire engine.


Josiah and Luke sat up front.


Try to keep Luke from kicking anything important while we're driving.


The rest of us sort of piled in.  You can see Katie's feet here; she's on Brianna's lap.


Sam ended up on the floor, and Jack got the seat.


Oh there's Katie!


And there's Daddy, driving.


Hannah was on my lap.


Afterwards, I took a picture of the girls standing on the engine with the wider bumper.


And here's proof that I was there, too.  I'm usually behind the camera.


Brianna ended up at the end of the tables, so I asked her to take a picture.  You can't see Luke at all, between Paul and Josiah, and you can barely see Hannah and Katie between Jack and I, but you get the idea.


Luke ate himself silly and was drifting off in the chair.


Josiah making a face at me.


Daddy taught the boys to play pool.  Katie was cute watching.


All 8 kids on the spiral staircase.  We were going for artistic, but I think the pictures in front of the fire engine turned out better.

I hope you and yours had a Happy Thanksgiving!


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A Look Back at Hannah Day


Since the blog we used during our adoption of Hannah is no longer online, I thought I'd share Hannah Day pictures and memories from 2010 with you today.


Five years ago, on the other side of the world, we asked our guide to take this picture before we left to pick up Hannah.


Hannah lived in Taizhou, Jiangsu, so we went to the Nanjing civil affairs office.


We were nervous and excited.


This was the culmination of a journey that began in the fall of 2008 and meandered through foster care licensing, and learning to wait, until we saw her face online in January of 2010 and changed directions to pursue her.


And now, we were seeing her in person for the first time!


Here she comes!


She was so brave.  She didn't cry, even through she had to have been terrified.


It's a surreal experience, being handed a child.  A little stranger who now is part of your family.


The woman in the blue coat is one of the directors of the orphanage.


The woman in the red coat was one of Hannah's nannies.  It was obvious that they were very close.


We headed back to the hotel and spent some time hanging out together.  I showed Hannah the picture book of our family, so the faces would be familiar to her.


Baba (Dad in Mandarin) built Lego creations for her.


When it was time to eat, Baba scored points by feeding Hannah mini M&Ms off a butter knife.


We were thrilled to be seeing smiles, knowing that many kids grieve heavily that first day.


It was a special day of getting to know each other, and playing.


At bedtime, I gave her a bottle, and her eyelids got heavy.


Our first day together ended with sweetness.  We were and are unimaginably blessed to have this amazing girl in our family.


The past 5 years, she has continued to show her trademark resilience to everything life throws at her.  She is beautiful inside and out, and it is an honor to get to be her Mommy.

Selfie taken in the fire engine on Thanksgiving.


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