27
Aug

Still truckin’

While Steve covers the quips, the daily homeschool journals cover the facts (and more – too cute sometimes!), it seems this blog is covering my emotional state. :)

Doing much, much better. Had some sleep, did some laundry, made some reservations and have unabashedly been sneaking bites of chocolate every hundred kilometres of so (was going to say hundred miles, but lets be realistic here).

We’ve had some shocks (nearly crossing into the US without passports), realizing we need those passports for our ferry to Newfounland (thank you, Mom, for having them couriered to us!), and then there are those roadside bathrooms (I don’t think I need to elaborate).

There have also been those moments when all we could do was laugh like when we had to try out five different restaurants in Sault Ste. Marie before heading to Timmy’s because none of said restaurants had room for us nor kid friendly tablecloths (wuuuuuuhite!).

Over all we are ready to get to the vacation part if this trip. Most days there is quiet in the van, chaos over our picnic lunch and then a mad scramble to settle into our rooms for sleep. I am loving the changes in scenery. The kids are absolutely amazing me with how the are following along on the map of the landscape of Canada. Total pay-off,right there.

Please pray for Faith. The last couple days she has developed first one painful bump on the back if her head followed by a different feeling one behind her ear. No obvious sign of entry from a tick or other insect, but the fact that spot number two has shown up is concerning. No other symptoms though. Thank you!

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25
Aug

Okay now I’m

Having a tough time. Wah, I know. The kids are still ticking along. The kilometres are falling behind us. I even spent crazy long hours laughing my self silly with my husband. I think I’m just tired. Anyway, back to reality.

Isaiah seems to have fallen into a routine. He even gets to watch his Praise Baby DVD during the afternoon. He is still stuffing his cheeks full at mealtime but not every meal. And he wields his Chinglish well. He seems outwardly secure.

Samuel is having a tough time and a great time. It depends on the moment. He can be so pesky, nothing new, but the little things make him so happy.

Garnet is our little tour enthusiast. Whether looking for animals, begging Dad to be the first out to help at the motel or just having an overall cheerful attitude, he’s our man.

Grace is absolutely delighted by screens. This trip affords her plenty of ample device time. Therefore, Grace = happy! She was pretty tearfully overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the trip in the beginning. That seems to have waned. I thought she’d be begrudgingly accepting but we seem to have skipped straight to acceptance. I won’t argue with that!

Faith is an avid reader and this trip has been ideal for her. Plus, with James back with us, she’s so happy to have her buddy, she’s pretty silly, fun and cheerful. She’s also quick to want to play with Isaiah, something he has appreciated greatly!

James is happy, helpful, funny, cheerful and downright gleeful over a strong wifi connection. Honestly, we couldn’t have a better young guy to join us. We weren’t sure if he’d resent this trip. Did we delay it too long? But he’s been so fun to have along. Great enthusiasm.

Stephen drives and finds us great picnic spots, not to mention accommodation for eight on a nightly basis. He’s quick to share in all the tasks that need doing every single stop and very supportive of whatever I ask of him. He’s such a fun travel companion for me!

I have taken pictures of beautiful scenery, oddities and our motley crew, all of which have remained on my camera. Let me leave you with my view from Thunder Bay. Not bad, eh?

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24
Aug

The voice of Fatigue

I am so tired.

Like wiped out.

I just wrote the most wonderful post. And the deleted it. By mistake. Honest.

We headed from Regina to Dryden and stopped short in Winnipeg. The two voted “Most Likely to Squabble” did right on the Manitoba border. No, really. We were trying to take a picture at the border and all chaos ensued. We may be featured on social media everywhere as our van tends to draw the eye of passing motorists as it is. The squabbling gang at the rest stop probably held attention after the initial glance.

We pulled if together and all 8 piled back in the van. Stephen announced about 4.5 hours to go and I cried uncle. We got a couple hotel rooms and ordered pizza in. James and Garnet went swimming and we enjoyed Melatonin all around. Don’t judge me. Remember, I’m tired?

As I told one of the kids today, this trip is about two things. Number one is sightseeing. Number two, making their lives miserable. Number two is actually as truthful as number one. A state of misery (come to Jesus speech anyone?) leads to strife. Strife can only lead to resentment or resolution. We are hoping to walk them through resolution.

Then again. I’m tired.

23
Aug

Entrust Your Loved Ones to Me

The title of this blog post is from today’s devotional reading from Jesus Calling. As so often, today had me from the title.

We drove the highway from Calgary to Regina today. Lots of silliness and goofy pics (none of which are in this post today – sorry!). The prairies are truly so pretty. And honestly, the kids had some Minecraft to catch up on. :)

We have one kiddo who has always struggled to receive love that is offered. This child will through their arms around you and be all smiles, but the second we turn away is quick to draw negative attention with mean and provocative behaviours. We truly, deeply, madly adore this child but it has been a struggle today to draw close and know which way to create an attractiveness to our relationship so they will draw close in return.

The title really reminded me of how much I need to entrust this child to Jesus. His love is the most attractive, loyal and truly winsome. I am thankful, tonight, that He was there to remind me.

22
Aug

Best Day EVER!

Today’s best moment of the day was looking over at five kids having the time of their lives in the pool tonight absolutely killing themselves laughing over a camp song. I had Isaiah in my lap and I looked over at Stephen and we had that moment of utter glee. THIS is why we are doing this.

Yeah, I took the kids to Heritage Park Historical Village and yes it was really sunny, with a light breeze. Samuel helped raise a tipi, we rode the steam train and a bunch of 100 year old amusement rides, all topped off with ice cream. Yeah! So fun, right?

But, today marks the one month anniversary of our receiving Isaiah. He ate the ziti noodles in his minestrone soup tonight. He splashed in the pool and beamed with joy over being encompassed by his Baba and I at the same time. He laughed with abandon over his upside down self in the mirror. He rode the forklift with Baba.

This is love, contentment and unfathomable joy. I love my family and I am beyond grateful for these moments. Lord, let me hold them closely in my heart.

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21
Aug

Cross Canada Road Trip – Off we go!

Day 1

We started off happily singing choruses while putting along in our energy efficient hybrid……. um, nope.

We spent half the morning packing and re packing scads of stuff into the back of our monster van (the Magic School Bus my brother called it the other day – the name may have stuck. :). I had a mega migraine and we had just thrown out every decent scrap of food set to expire causing me to run to Subway for a huge order to go.

We finally gave up on peace and perfection and ushered everyone into the van.

And then off we went. After a couple quick stops we drove out of town. By the time we hit Mara Lake we had laughing kidding the back. By Revelstoke we were all roaring with laughter over James and Faith’s parodies just begging us to pull over for a pee break. :) Golden brought us to McDs and a hunt for a store that sold the one important thing we had forgotten (we hope the only one!). A search fir Elk that ended in quarters for finders. And finally we pulled over the Rocky Mountains to Garnet’s gasps of Ooooo and Aaaah. So cute. Pulling into Calgary under a perfectly, enormous full moon with a spectacular sunset in the sky and finished the night with room service, deep fried pickles (I’m in love – who knew?) and a bottle for Isaiah.

We began our journals tonight (hey, it is the first day of homeschool for us!) and Grace wowed me with her drawing skills and perspective.

The day definitely started off this trip with a rosy glow!

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{photos taken with my phone}

18
Aug

Such a difference!

DSC_0680 DSC_0683 DSC_0705 DSC_0767Within a week of the last post I was amazed at how much things had changed already!  Isaiah has returned to his settled self.  {Could this actually be more than the honeymoon period?}

This next bit is more for me than you, and is more list than literature.

He takes a morning and bedtime bottle and snuggles up really well.

He plays cute little games with us.

He loves to catch our eye across a room and beam one of those famous smiles.

He hates having his diaper changed and will yell loud and clear until the SECOND the new diaper is on.

He has trouble chewing and loves soup, yogurt and noodles.  Other more solid food comes tumbling out into his bib pocket, but he’s game to try it all.  It’s up to us to catch it as it tumbles.

He uses a soft sippy spout (like a bottle nipple, but shaped like a sippy spout) for water. Sometimes he drinks from a straw.

He enjoys and can manage big knobby wooden 3 piece puzzles.

Anything that he can open and shut it a hit.

Speaking of hit… he likes to play the toy xylophone and can pick up the wooden mallet and play it himself.

He still proudly turns the pages of books but will actually pause long enough for me to read the words on his board books.

He enjoys humming along to Twinkle, Twinkle and has been caught humming bits of it to himself.

He loves peek-a-boo at nap time with his blanket thrown over first my head and then his.  He pulls it off me and I him.

He recognized and loved the green tassels on the stuffed fish he and I bought for him at the Dirt Market in Beijing.  It’s been 3 weeks exactly since he last saw it.

He is incredibly ticklish.

He LOVES cars, vans, trucks and would sit in one all day if he had the chance.  His head whips around fast when he catches sight of one driving past our front window and we have to look out his window before bed and when he wakes up so he can see them in the driveway.  He was quite concerned when Stephen took one of them to the shop last week, but was quickly comforted when he saw the courtesy car in the driveway instead.  He can say car and truck in Mandarin and differentiate between the two.

He adores his siblings.  No really.  He does.

He is quick to laugh.

He loves his Praise Baby DVDs.  So do we.  1/2 hour of quiet play in the afternoon works for us!

Swimming at Grandma and Grandpa’s is still asked for daily.  He floats in the baby inner tube and kicks his little legs.  He gets a little frown if I tell him we can’t go when he asks for “Gamma”.

{We are utterly in love.}

8
Aug

So here we are

After writing that last post about our visit to Samuel’s friends, we returned to the hotel and Isaiah promptly fell into a deep, dark, angry grieving rage.  It was a long and loud one.  So long in fact, that we sent my folks off to the Goodbye China Party that our agency throws all on their own.  We ended up following them after a bit, and enjoyed watching Samuel so excited over the magician, but that’s not really the point.  Actually, that rage was only the beginning.

The airplane.  The drive to Stephen’s folks.  Driving home.  At mealtime.  At bedtime.  At play.  At the doctor’s.  Never for so long that we fear for him, but definitely intense.

Isaiah had fussed and cried before.  Not long-lasting, but it spoke of what was going on underneath.  It appears to be a typical two year old type of thing, for sure.  Head clunking against ours.  Back arched and stiff.  Sharp screams and yells.  The hard part is knowing where the two year old part of it begins and the fear and grief ends.  And mix it all in with thoughts like our doctor voiced yesterday, “He’s got to be frustrated that he can’t do for himself.”

Yeah.  Not a simple thing to sort out.

He has enjoyed playing with his siblings, that’s for sure.  And honestly, I will do a post later about it, but they’ve enjoyed him too.  That is the 90% of it.  The 10% remaining is this rage.

0-60 in no time flat.

So, we hold him and remind him and love him and hold him some more.  And sometimes when the yells are too piercing we hold him and wear ear buds.  Whatever it takes.

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Post swimming at Grandma and Grandpa’s.  He’d say, “WOOOOOOW!” with great enthusiasm every so often.

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Samuel, showing Isaiah how to open one his birthday gifts.

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Rolling, rolling, rolling…  Sure glad we kept those baby gates up!

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Yes, we own desks and nice furniture.  This is James’ room.  And this is the den of Minecraft.  Isaiah was welcomed into the fold.

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It looks sad, but this is the crew allowed to play, yes, you guessed it, Minecraft, together for a few minutes before we headed out for swimming at their grandparents’.  They had just finished laying all over the floor playing with Isaiah.  He was kind of like, “Huh?”  He is pretty good at swiping on the iPad.  IT’s only a matter of time….

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He’s sexy and he knows it.

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31
Jul

Friends and Fears

We made our visit to New Day Foster Home today.  We wanted Samuel to build a few memories of the place he had called home before meeting us.  We are forever indebted to the staff and volunteers there.  He received therapy and encouragement that definitely helped prepare him well for his future.  We were so thrilled that some of Samuel’s special friends came to visit us and while he was a bundle of nerves, his response once he got back to the hotel with us really showed us the value in the visit.  The real Samuel returned and spoke about his “friends” and “when I was little”.  The pictures will be priceless to him in the years to come and the visit with friends was priceless to us.  Such a treat to visit a place so close to our hearts!

We finished the day with our travel group at the Goodbye China party our agency always throws for the families.  It’s always a nice way to end off the adoption trip.  This year Samuel was so pleased to receive an Opera mask like the performer of the changing faces mask.  He told us he needs to go home to practice his magic!  My folks, Stephen, and Isaiah received beautiful scrolls.  Long Life, Happy Family and Isaiah’s Characters. So lovely. We are truly spoiled by our agency and appreciate them so very much!

Off to Canada tomorrow on that incredibly long flight!  The best and most motivating factor is seeing our kids the next few days – first Faith, Grace and Garnet, followed by James on Friday.  It will feel so amazing to have the Super 8 together at last!

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30
Jul

The Greatness of the Climb

Well, as you all know from yesterday’s post, we visited the Mutianyu portion of the Great Wall yesterday.  Other than a short time of panic, the day was really quite exceptionally wonderful!  You know those party games where people have to guess things about you?  I always used the fact  that I hoped to visit the Great Wall before I died.  This visit marks my fourth and honestly, it doesn’t get old.  I can’t get enough of the mountains and the feeling of being where thousands of people have trod for thousands of years, wow!  It’s honestly something I don’t just remember, I cherish it.

Yesterday was hot in the city and slightly cooler on the wall.  That coolness was short lived though with carrying the kids and marching up and down.  We chose to go to this section of the wall knowing we could ride the gondola up and the bobsled down.  It’s still a fair hike in between, especially for Samuel.

Samuel has had a number of reactions from and to people here in China.  Most people have been curious and some have been atrociously rude.  I’d like to say it’s specific to this area of the world, but I regret to inform that it just seems like a part of humanity.  :/  Anyway, Samuel started the trip ducking his head and then he decided to tune most people out.  This day at the wall, he really just became focused.  He was a champion.  Stephen was too.  He picked him up the tricky well worn paths that were too steep or slippery for him to navigate and marched him through them.  The rest of the way Samuel walked.  And people clapped and cheered and gave him the thumbs up. A fellow and his daughter were visiting the wall from Hong Kong, but had been to visit Vancouver and Victoria last year!  The father bought both his daughter and Samuel a medal.  Samuel has carried it around like the champion he is. We are beyond proud of him.

Pardon the photo heavy post (not that you mind), but it is one of my favourite places, after all.

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