Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An Unexpected Start

   At the time of my last post, Dec. 16th, we had finished school for the day, for the weekend (it was Friday) and for the next 2 weeks because it was the beginning of our Christmas break.  I had lots of plans.  I had all sorts of things I was going to do.... areas that I needed to organize, presents to wrap, one more shopping day planned with the kids so that they could buy a few gifts.
   Dan was not feeling well at the time.  He had the day off, and had gone into the doctor that morning.  They couldn't find anything wrong with him....  no fever, normal urinalysis, normal blood work, normal X-ray.  However, he had been having pain in his lower abdomen for 2 days, and it was getting worse.  He went to bed early (that's probably when I made my post), but was up again in a good bit of pain by 11:00 pm.  We started self-diagnosing (suspecting appendicitis), and he decided to try to go to bed again and see if it got worse.  In just a few hours, we were up and heading to the ER.  I left a note for the kids.  In less than an hour, while in the ER, his appendix ruptured.  He was transferred by ambulance to another hospital where he could have surgery.  Christmas vacation plans changed!!
   The kids were great!!  My mom, dad and sister all were close by to help out, and our 3 oldest girls did wonders to keep things moving smoothly at home.  I honestly was completely  pleasantly surprised by how well Jonathan did.  God most certainly gives grace when you need it.  It was the first time that we'd been away overnight from him..... and this was not just overnight.... it was over 36 hours before we returned home.  Sunday evening we made it back and continued on with "Plan B" for Christmas vacation.  Things didn't get done in the timely way I'd wanted.  The shopping trip was put off until the following Friday after Dan had gotten his drainage tube removed and was doing better.  My "to do" list has a lot still "to be done!"  But, even after the surprise to our holidays, the Lord blessed us with lots of happy times to remember!

Christmas crafts!

More hand-made things--

Decorating cookies

Ready, Set ....

Dig in!!!

Completing the Advent calendar

Opening presents

One of the best gifts:  Family!

Friday, December 16, 2011

What's Missing?

   Challenges have been many over the past few months...  It can be easy to fall prey to our enemy's subtle attempts to lapse into negativity about things that go on around our household.  I really don't want to do that.  We have come a really  long way in the past 2 months.  Hopefully I will have more of a chance to blog about that in the 2 weeks we are taking off for Christmas vacation.  But, for tonight, I wanted to at least get a quick post done here, and let it be a good reminder of what we have NOT had to face at all during the 4 months that Jonathan has been home with us.
    When we started learning about adoption and what all we could be up against, I remember several things standing out to me.  One was sleeping problems.  Night terrors are very common in children who have been raised in institutions.  Sleeping problems in general are to be expected.  So, I mentally prepared for the months after Jonathan came home to be sleep-disruptive times.  Praise the Lord, it was not to be!  He sleeps wonderfully well.  I can only think of three  times that I have even heard a peep coming from his bedroom, and that was actually more like talking in his sleep than any type of distress.  He not only goes to sleep well, he even sleeps LATE!!  Wow--  He's always the last one up every morning, and on Saturdays when there is no reason to get up, he will usually sleep much later still.  Amazing!
   The second issue of which we were highly warned was about eating habits.  Many children who live in orphanages have sensory problems that affect the way they like or dislike food and its textures.  So many (who have been raised in institutions similar to the ones he was in) have had very, very limited diets, mostly of mashed foods like porridge, and things with any varied texture turns them off.  Finding foods that the kids will eat can be a challenging situation.  OR -- these kids might  react to having been hungry all of their lives by consequently trying to eat everything in sight.... gorging until they actually throw up, and hoarding food in their bedrooms.  I was anticipating time at the table being times of concern.  However, (praising God again on this one!!) Jonathan will surprisingly eat basically anything we put on his plate!!  He was only used to bland-tasting things, and even calls regular ketch-up "spicy", but he will still eat it, because his brother and sister eat it, and he wouldn't dare be left out on anything!!  (O.K.  -- so occasionally that strong tendency toward comparison works in our favor!!.... not that I care if he eats ketch-up, but it works great when Leslie and Justin call broccoli 'yummy', so Jonathan thinks it is, too!!)  We saw right away on our "Gotcha Day" that -- given the chance -- Jonathan would definitely gorge himself with food.  But, it doesn't seem to be as a result of having faced a lot of starvation.  He just doesn't know when to quit.  He WILL choose to quit if everyone around him is finishing up with the meal and is choosing to go on to do fun things.  Remember, he doesn't want to be left out of anything, so he's learned that if he doesn't keep filling his plate with seconds and thirds, he can finish faster and go join in on the fun!!  He is typically a very slow eater, and that works in our favor, too..... except on mornings that I'm trying to get him to hurry and he is eating his Cheerios one by one (which is OFTEN!!)  By the time he finishes his first healthy serving of whatever is for dinner, everyone else is usually long gone, and he'll finish up just to go find out what Leslie or Justin is doing. 
   So, while we HAVE had a fair share of troubles in adjusting to other areas, issues with sleeping and eating have been conspicuously missing from our household, and I am VERY grateful!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fantastic Field Trip

  A couple of weeks ago we had an appointment in Montgomery in the morning.  Since the school day was already going to be very out-of-whack, I decided that it was time for a Field Trip instead of "regular school."  We're studying American History this year, so Dan's mom met us in Montgomery, and we took the kids to the Alabama Archives building. 

It is downtown, right beside the state capitol building.  In fact, if you look in the picture above, you can see the reflection of the capitol in the doors of the Archives!
We had a very nice tour guide, and he shared many facts that we had recently covered in our home school studies.  Actually, most of the items we saw went right along with our units of history!  I always appreciate it when a field trip is very good reinforcement to what I've been trying to get across!!

There is a new addition of Native American rooms which Justin enjoyed!
And, we had just  finished a unit on the Civil War, so this part was very applicable:

When we had completed the tour and actual museum-type part of the building, we went down the hall to "Grandma's Attic." 

This is the only part of the Archives that I had brought the girls to when they were little.  They loved to play dress-up then, and ....  well, some things never change!!  :)

"Grandma's Attic" is a hands-on place for kids to experience different aspects of life in Alabama throughout history.  It has LOTS of activities.  This one was Jonathan's favorite:

We did manage to get him away from the train set long enough to join the others in dressing up, though:

And, the final one when I got them all together!  LOTS of fun!!!