Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Before & After

Here's the picture Elena drew for the triplets before they came home:

And here's a new picture I just found in one of Elena's drawers:

Here's what it says: Now we adopted the adopted kids. We R so happe. We hav mor boys. We hav 4 boys now. (She's including Kyle.) I love you Maya, Isaac, and Daniel. From Elena. To Maya & Isaac.

Home Economics

Home economics is a big part of our home schooling. Learning all the fruits and vegetables by name and where they are stored, learning spices & herbs by scent and what they are used for, learning the names and uses of all the cooking tools, and learning how to measure are important skills for my mommies-in-training. (These skills are not only for the girls, however. I've made sure to educate Pedro well in the kitchen, so his future wife will be blessed!) This year, I attempted letting the girls do some of the cutting. This has been off-limits for a long time, for good reason. After teaching them how to use a knife safely (and giving them a small one to use), I discovered that they can do a pretty good job. I don't leave their side while they have knife in hand, FYI.
Because of Chloe's eagerness to learn all things related to cooking, she now knows how to do some things on the stove. This particular night we were having spaghetti. Chloe did it all! I stood by and told her what to do next while she boiled and salted the water, cooked the noodles, browned and seasoned the beef, and stirred in the pasta sauce. She was giddy! Her best friend, Sophie, gave her an apron for her 4th birthday (one of Chloe's wishes) and she has gotten a lot of use out of it!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Toddler Adoption

I've been reading "Toddler Adoption, The Weaver's Craft" and am desperately wishing I had read this two months ago. Adopting toddlers has more challenges than any other age group. Maya and Isaac have adjusted so well and so smoothly into our family and our culture. We hear comments about this frequently from our friends. Daniel, on the other hand, seems worried that we could leave him at any minute. I am learning that apparently this is very typical among adopted toddlers. Because he didn't understand all the explanations about how his world would be changing, he has been very confused by it all. He has a lot of fear and insecurity. His reaction when I get him out of bed in the morning or after nap is one of excitement and relief. Whenever we are in the company of others, he stays very close to me. Whenever company leaves, he is always thrilled that we do not. Tonight we had friends over to celebrate Memorial Day. Daniel followed me everywhere. He is the sweet little chick to this mama hen. While I was plating everyone's dinner Daniel held onto the hem of my shorts, never leaving my side. It could easily become irritating if I didn't understand him. Because I do, it is heartbreaking.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Our Twins

Since Isaac and Chloe are the same age, we like to refer to them as "the twins." (Clearly they're fraternal twins, hehe.) Well, this term is more appropriate than we originally thought. Isaac and Chloe also have very similar personalities. They are both the first to offer help in the kitchen. They both love to cook and love to eat. Neither can sit still to watch a movie; they'd rather be doing something. They both have what I call a silly personality. They both like to draw, although neither is very good at it yet. (Don't tell them I said so.)
They have caught onto their new moniker. Although they fight like they've been brother and sister forever, when we're climbing in the van they both say, "Sit by me, twin," and they love to serve each other: "Here's your plate, twin, and here's your cup." It's really funny to watch. Isaac and Chloe are the entertainers of the family.

Dinner Time Humor

Last night at dinner, Elena came up to me with a sad face and said, "Isaac said if I don't like my dinner, he won't like me." (Elena is very picky when it comes to dinner, we are working on this. Meanwhile, Isaac licks his plate clean regardless of what it is.) Kyle and I turned to Isaac for an explanation, ready for a discussion about kindness. Isaac was quick to correct her, "I s a i d if you hate the dinner, the dinner hates you!" Kyle and I immediately started laughing. Then everyone was laughing, even Daniel and Lydia, who of course didn't get it, but laughed anyway seeing that we all were.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Chore Time

A mother of a two-year-old boy said to me: "I don't know how you manage 7 kids! I'm having a hard enough time with just my one!" She assumes I'm doing for my seven what she is doing for her one toddler. I laughed and said, "But I have 5 big helpers!"
My kids are learning how to function as a family - that we do things, not because we necessarily enjoy them, but to serve and be a blessing to others. This includes chores. All my kids do chores. We each have one chore per day. Pedro takes out the trash, Maya and Isaac sweep, Elena and Chloe mop, and everyone does their own laundry. I was shocked to find that everyone's favorite chore is scrubbing toilets! (I haven't scrubbed a toilet in months!) Daniel and Lydia have the most important job of all - they put away the clean dishes so we can eat!

Little tip: We moved all the dishes to the bottom cabinets so that they could do this. They think it's so much fun!

One more tip: There's a step stool in the laundry room, stickers on the control panel (so they know what buttons to push), and I read to them while they fold laundry.

Thanks to my good friends, who taught me these great tips!

What's the Point?

I recently read a magazine article, titled: "Morality is Not the Point." The author said that he had begun an experiment and had been asking all the young kids he knows, "What do you think God wants most from us?" Most kids said, "God wants us to be good," "He wants us to pray a lot," or "God wants us to help people."
All these precious kids got it wrong, according to the author. The reason they were wrong is because so many well-meaning adults communicate that blessings come to us when we are good. (God blesses us because He is good, but that's another story.)
What God wants most from us is our love. He wants us to love Him.
So, after I put the magazine down, I called Elena over to me. I asked her, "What do you think God wants most from you?" She said, "For me to love Him and give Him my heart." I wanted to yell out: "Yahoo!!! I'm doing something right!!" I then called Chloe over and asked her the same thing. She responded with almost the exact same words.
If my house is a mess and my kids look like they're dressed for the circus, but they get the point of our faith, then I'm good.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

An Encouraging Encounter

We get quite a few looks when we're out and about. Double stroller with two big kids holding onto each side. They've created a little chant to help them remember the rule for outings: "Put your hand on the stroller and stay close to your mother."
Today, we went to Super Wal-Mart. The elderly greeter physically stopped me and with a smile said, "Whoa! I have to know: which ones are yours?" I smiled (I get this a lot) and said, "They all are!" He kept on (most don't). "So, you adopted? That is wonderful!"
Then he looks at them all again and asked, "But which ones are yours?" (Rarely does anyone persist this far.) I replied, "They're all mine. Do you mean, which ones did I give birth to? These three (pointing to the blondes)."
At this point, he looked me straight in the eyes and said, "God will bless you, do you believe that?" Of course, I said, "Oh He already has!"
He gave me a huge smile and, with a strong East Indian accent, said, "I am so proud of you! I know I don't know you, but I am just . . . 10,000 times proud!"

Mark Twain said, "I can live two months on a good compliment." I agree.
(For the record, I really prefer more than that. Thank you very much!)