A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Our Week with a Shrinking Household

Another action packed week at our house!

Josiah needed a few last minute things, which necessitated a trip to Target.  I hopped out of the van and started heading in, only to turn around and see these guys.  All in black, they make an imposing security detail.  

Miss Katie needed some time away from the other kids, so I asked her to come and do a puzzle.  She picked one of the hardest ones we have and did a great job on it.  I guess it's time to think about thinning out our tray puzzle collection, if she's already outgrown most of them.

Monday was The Big Day.  Can you believe this was Josiah's only luggage?  Talk about flying COO (carry on only)!  I remember Zach taking more stuff than this when he went into the Air Force.

Early morning goodbyes.  This was Jack.

And Eli.

And Paul.

And by the time he got to me, he was pretty much over the picture taking.

And Katie.

And Brianna.

We didn't do the big airport goodbye, because of the time he needed to leave.  Paul took Josiah to the airport, and I took Brianna and Eli to school.

I did okay until right about here, when I started to cry.

Paul sent me this from the airport.  He called after his second flight landed, so we know he made it there safely.  We won't see him again until around Thanksgiving.

Josiah wasn't the only one to take off this week.  Sam has been helping Zach and Heather with child care, so he's been staying with them a few days at a time.  With both boys gone, it's been really quiet around here.  In fact, when Paul took the girls to the dentist, it was just Jack and I here at the house.  It felt weird.

One of our writing assignments recently was for the kids to write about what they'd like to dress up as on Halloween.

Hannah picked a tiger, but when it arrived, Brianna decided it looked big enough for her to wear.

Not quite, as it turns out, but she made a valiant effort to fit in it.

I finally finished up the other nightgown that I'd cut out for Katie.  Excuse the messy bath hair.  It's actually big enough that I think Hannah could wear it.

The mornings are getting chilly, and I found myself wearing my Air Force hoodie over my Army Mom t-shirt on the way to school.  I'm so very proud of my boys!

Although I've still got a month to prepare, I'm starting to think about what these guys will be doing for school while I'm in China.  At this point, I think I'm going to have Paul keep up with math and spelling, and I'll give them packets to work independently in a couple other subjects.  We can go over the packets together once I get home.

Katie finished her handwriting book this week!  I'll have to print some pages for her to work on now that she's done with Patriotic Penmanship.

We got started on a special art project that I hope to share with you next week.  We painted wooden apple cutouts.

While the apples were drying, the kids worked on the floor.  I was amused at the crazy position Katie was in while she was writing.

Josiah's room is empty.

Which sets off a room shuffle.  We're moving Jack and Eli in here while we paint their room, and then Jack will move back upstairs and Eli will stay in here.

Because we had a visit to Shriners this week, we did our library and park run Wednesday evening instead of Thursday at lunchtime.

My little climbers discovered some interesting holes in the rock formation that merited further investigation.  I think they concluded they were ant holes.

Speaking of wildlife, Eli called me downstairs one night to check out the family of FIVE raccoons in our back yard.  Note to self, time to start feeding the cat in the house.  These were fat raccoons.

The wall that we built a year ago when Luke came home from his failed placement has come down.  With Josiah gone until at least February, and Sam leaving in January, we decided that even if the unthinkable happened again, we could shuffle things around and free up a downstairs bedroom for him in a pinch.

Luke's current placement appears to be going well, and his new mama assures me that they plan to finalize, but I won't be able to really believe it's over until the papers are signed, hopefully in December.

Friday's visit to Shriner's was a little rough.  Not because of anything medical; both the girls are doing fine.  But it was 2.5 hours (into lunchtime, of course) and we were pretty fried by the time we left.

When we were here, we met two other families, each with 2 Chinese daughters being seen.  I always love seeing other families like ours.

Katie has grown!  She was 42#, 43.5", up from 37# and 42.25" in January.

Hannah has also grown!  She's currently 49#, 48.5", up from 46# and 47.5" in January.  Poor little peanut is only an inch taller.  I'm pretty sure Katie will catch up with her at some point.

So, this was probably the last smile from Katie until we left.  Shortly after this picture was taken, Hannah was pushing Katie (at her request) and Katie fell off the chair and smacked her head on the floor.  :(

After we saw the resident and the doctor and the prosthetist, they sent us upstairs to get a part replaced on Hannah's leg.  In order to go upstairs at Shriners, you have to sign in.  So we go into the lobby, and I tell the girls, "Go push the [elevator] button," while I'm signing in.  One of the elevators opens, and Katie hops on.  I turn around and say, "Katie!  Don't ever get on an elevator without Mommy!  The doors could..." and the doors shut.  Now she was only in there by herself for a brief moment, and most kids would be fine, but Katie was not fine.  She didn't cry, although she looked very unhappy, as I got on the elevator and explained why that was a bad idea (trying not to imagine searching a 7 floor building for my child).  However, once we were upstairs, Hannah sat down and started coloring, and Katie just leaned on a chair.  I asked her a question, and she didn't even seem to understand me.  Suddenly, it clicked.  Abandonment issues.  Being alone and scared unexpectedly had taken her back to a prior scary and alone experience, and she was not "with us" yet.  I scooped her up and held her for a while, explaining that she was safe now.  That's when the tears came.

This coming week has two field trips, three reviews, another trip to Shriners (hopefully less traumatic!), and a birthday.

We've been working on getting the boys moved downstairs, which set off going through all their drawers.  Plus we're starting to have chilly weather in the mornings so I pulled out a few long sleeved things in Hannah and Katie's room and started going through their clothes, too.  We've got several bags of stuff to donate to charity or pass on to friends.  I've even started going through my own closet, now that I've got a pile going of things that are (hurray!) too big for me.  Today's jeans are 3 sizes smaller than when I was wearing in May/June.  So I'm sure we'll have several more bags of stuff to donate in the next week or two.

I'm looking forward to being able to post some "after" pictures of the upstairs bedroom, once it's painted.  It's very strange to me that Jack, my 7th child, will be getting his own room soon.  Most of the kids didn't get their own room until high school.

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  1. Oh my goodness what a week! Love the entourage photo of the kids all in black. I can only image how hard it was to say goodbye to your son! You are such an amazing mom and I am always inspired by you and your children.

    1. It's been almost a week, and I find myself wanting to share something with him, wondering what/how he's doing, about to ask him a question... I know we'll adjust, but we're not there yet.

  2. What a week you have had. I can imagine how hard it was to say good bye to your son but I totally understand and get how proud you are of him. I hope he has an amazing experience. I loved the apple cut outs that you guys were painting. I love the wooden cutouts! I have to get some Thanksgiving ones next time I am at Hobby Lobby. Can't wait to here what field trips you took next week.

    1. I'm a fan of wood cutouts! Did you catch the conversation heart wreath we made with them?

  3. Wow, so much happening at your house! I can't wait to see the new room shift. Taking down the wall seems so significant.

    1. Like the Berlin wall, lol! It felt like a pretty big deal to me, too. The upstairs room is still a disaster, but we'll get there, slowly but surely.

  4. You've reminded me of the day that 4 of my littles (the oldest was 7) hopped into an elevator that closed while I was still trying to maneuver the double stroller with the babies. I was just sick when it went up and came down empty! It was a long time (measured in heartbeats) finding them in the care of a kind stranger, and I'm sure I aged 10 years . . .

    I wish your boy a good learning experience on his new adventures, and I wish your mother-heart peace and joy.

    1. Oh my gosh! How terrifying! I have some stories about getting separated from the kids (one at a time, though). I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you aged 10 years.

  5. I'd really like to read your post, thank you!