Saturday, July 31, 2010

These are a few of our favorite things.

Person   Most Favorite Thing  Least Favorite Thing
Amanda : Ed                   Trash
Ed     : Amanda               Being Dizzy
Pamela : High School Musical  Broccoli
Camila : Snow                 Pepperoni
Sebas  : The Dogs             School
Sami   : Skates               The Fan

We actually thought everyone came up with answers that explained they're personalities pretty well. We don't know why Sami hates the fan in our living room other than it was just the first thing she saw.

Monday, July 26, 2010

In every season.

Tonight Pamela asked to find a particular song in our music that she likes. We have downloaded Disney Princess albums and Colombian music for the kids, so I expected it to be one of those songs. I was surprised when she choose a Hillsong United song and told us this was her favorite song of all! The song she picked is called the Desert Song and it's lyrics are "All of my life, in every season, you are still God, I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship". Ed helped her print out the lyrics to the song in side-by-side English and Spanish so that she could learn the song in both languages.
The fact that my daughter, who has experienced more hard things in her first 7 years of life than I have in my 32 years, says that her FAVORITE song is one that talks about praising God in every season and situation in life just floored me. Right now, she could really be choosing to be bitter and angry about the life she has had, but instead she wants to sing songs praising God for how good He has been to her. I told her that, that song is also a favorite of mine and she said, "I know Mami, it's just so wonderful". What a girl - she continually amazes me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Colombian Day.

Today was one of those days where it felt like we were back in Colombia. Sebastian had his mad face on all day, the girls wanted very little to do with us and I just felt like, "What the heck are we doing?"... sometimes parenting feels so terribly clueless. So sorry- Priscilla for the Strawberry Lemonade spilled all over your chair and floor - sorry to everyone we were crabby with today, because I felt like acting like my grumpy child rather than a persevering parent...
Of course this hard day came after a weekend filled with endless new and fun things and so Ed and I should have expected it, but somehow just expecting it doesn't make it any easier. We've been at this for three months now and we know that we have more good days then bad days and we are so grateful for that. Most days are thrilling and filled with laughs and giggles and broken English and surprises and dancing - and we really how can we have it so good? But, today was just one of those days that crept up on me and kept me knowing how hard this parenting thing is.
Just to keep myself in reality... things that were cute and fun today:
The three oldest kids ended the night by laying in bed and having us quiz them on English words.
After a rough time at the park, everyone sat around the computer and watched the second part of Harry Potter and ate leftovers, while attempting to read the Spanish sub-titles.
Sami asked me to read Cinderella to her again for the 100th time in English, because even in English it's better than any other story in Spanish!
Sebastian, though mad all day, did NOT throw a tantrum and at the end of the night I heard him coming out of his room and I stood at the door to tell him to go back to bed, but he just opened the door and said, "I love you Pa, I love you Ma". He gave me a kiss, asked where Dad was, since he wasn't there, he gave Papi's kiss to the door frame and then headed right back to bed :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Spanglish House.

"Mom, how do you say, excuse me, in English?"
"Camila, that is English."
"Oh! Excuse me!"

That is becoming more and more the conversations we have in our house around here. I think we are all a little confused about what language to use, and what language we ARE using!

School is going okay - it is definitely helping our three older kids learn English quicker, but I think it's a bit of a "time-waster". Pamela comes home almost everyday with a new card game she has learned, that really has almost nothing to do with school at all - so I wonder, how much are they actually learning? I still think it was a good choice to send them - to help them with the language and get them used to what school is like here (long days and MUCH more difficult than school in Colombia was), but I think we'll all be happy to enjoy our next six school-free weeks at home, together. (In response to another reader's comment: Yes, we were told that our kids did very well in school in Colombia, but here they are VERY far behind in math, in particular, and it's going to be a hard adjustment year next year.)

Other than that, we are really just still figuring out life for the 6 of us - Ed and myself included. Life is just SO different with kids. Not, that most people don't know that, but I think we are all still adjusting to a new life. Sebastian had a little bit of a hard week going to bed last week, but other than that, behavior is pretty good. Everyone is still HATING the heat and they ask everyday when the snow is coming... but at least we got a lot of use out of our pool.

No pictures - we need to start taking more!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy 4th!

Posted by PicasaThe only picture I have of the day :) We stayed up later than ever to watch fireworks... thanks for a fun day everyone! On a very proud note... when we thought about going to this 4th of July party in the past (before we adopted the kids) we never thought we would be able to do it - the kids would have too many attachment problems and things like that... Well - the ONLY problems we had the whole night were that they were tired and hungry at the end of the night (pretty normal kids stuff). We are really proud and amazed with how good our kids are doing.
And to top it off, they received their official certificates of US citizenship the day before - so a very nice 4th of July!

Friday, July 2, 2010

State of the Union: Month #3

The past week the three oldest kids have all been in school, which has been very illuminating as to how far behind in academics they actually are. Wow. Camila, who is set to be in fourth grade, has no ability to subtract and very little ability to add. 3+2 is a small challenge, requiring her to use her fingers. This is very surprising to me because Camila got straight As in school in Soacha and didn't start school late (like Pamela). We tried putting Samantha in school, but it was pretty devastating for her and she would benefit more by just being at home with Amanda. Besides, with just her at home it's pretty easy for Amanda to teach her how to read at home.

She's continuing to do well. Her biggest strengths are: she's a good eater and she makes a real effort in integrating into our family. Even when it's clear she doesn't want to obey, she usually does it anyway. She still has some trouble understanding that we're the parents and that she isn't in charge, but she's doing a lot better in that area than would normally be expected. Also the girl likes to eat like her old man. The other kids don't eat at all and I'm wondering if there's a way to average them all out...

Camila is doing great. She still is a total diva and likes to make lots of disrespectful faces and sounds at you when she doesn't like being parented, but she's quick to recover and it's clear that she often tries to think about her heart before she opens her mouth. One other area of improvement for her is that she doesn't seem to "join in" anymore when another kid is rebellious, which used to be very hard to deal with. Her and Pamela are starting to learn more English and are generally pretty excited about learning in general. Usually most of the day is filled with Camila saying cute phrases in English that she just picked up that day. One challenging area for her recently is lying. She isn't exhibiting the "meaningless" lying that so often accompanies children with attachment problems - she only lies to manipulate and get what she wants. The strategy we've been employing is to take away whatever it is that she wants when she lies. For instance, she told me that Amanda said she could eat cheetos. When I called Amanda to ask her if we had any at home or if I needed to buy any, Camila confessed she was lying. Her consequence was that she wasn't allowed to have chips/cheetoes for a week, which she was not happy about. But she seems to be doing well in general and is not showing any other signs for concern in regards to attachment to her new family.

Sebastian has been steadily improving ever since returning from Colombia. But even though he was a terror in Colombia, we said then that he seemed the least likely to have long term attachment problems. Deep down he loves being in our family and just wants to be with us. We figured his difficulties in Colombia were simply "testing", so we just employed lovingly firm limits on his behavior. Now, he's arguably our best behaved child during the day. He is rarely defiant anymore and really only gives us trouble during bed time some nights. He's had two bad nights in a row going to bed, but our consequence for being disruptive at bed time is an early bedtime the following night. That seems to work pretty well because the only thing he hates more than going to bed is going to bed early.

What can I say about Pikachu? We pulled her out of school because it was really hard for her and she needed more quality time with a parent. We've always been the most worried about Samantha long term in regards to attachment, so the alone time with Amanda is really helping her. She knows her ABCs the best out of all the kids and is enthusiastic about showing us things she's learned. She still loves to play around and be silly, and in general she's a real joy to be around.

Amanda and I are hanging in there. Going from zero to four is really tough, even though our kids are in good shape. Please pray that we'd use our time together at night wisely. The temptation is just to veg out and eat jink food, but what we really need is quality time serving one another. And pray that we would be less crabby and more patient with the kids.